Chlorine leak at West Virginia chemical plant investigated

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PROCTOR, W.Va. (AP) — Officials are investigating the cause of a chlorine leak at a chemical plant near Proctor, West Virginia.

The Intelligencer ( ) reports that 33,000 gallons of liquid chlorine leaked Saturday from a rail car inside Axiall Corp.'s Natrium chemical plant.

Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater told the paper that local, state and federal officials are analyzing what happened.

"Right now we're still assessing, but basically the chlorine gas has dissipated by this point," Gillenwater said. "There is a possibility of some residual chlorine or some reactions, but any impact at this point would be very minimal."

The leak resulted in a chemical cloud that temporarily forced hundreds in the area from their homes Saturday. Officials said tests later determined that the air quality in the area was safe. At the time, the company said one of its employees and a contract worker were taken to area hospitals for treatment but later released. Others were treated at an onsite health facility.

Wetzel County Emergency Management Director Edgar Sapp said the evacuations lasted until Saturday afternoon. He added that the odor of chlorine was detectable at one point miles from the plant.

The paper reported that plant operations were proceeding normally at the outset of the work week.


Information from: The Intelligencer,

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