Vapor leak at bleach plant contained
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jan 08, 2013 | 2353 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the San Joaquin County Joint Hazardous Materials Team defused a vapor leak early Monday, Jan. 7, inside the Olin Chlor Alkali plant southeast of Tracy, according to fire officials.

Tracy Fire Department Division Chief Dave Bramell said a chemical warning sensor inside the plant at 26700 S. Banta Road — a major producer of bleach, according to the company’s website — alerted officials that chemical readings within a confined production room were above normal.

He said the fire department received the call around 4:16 a.m.

Four engines and the hazardous materials team responded, Bramell said.

Dressed in hazardous materials suits, firefighters and plant officials found that a product at the plant had released vapor inside a confined room.

Bramell said the vapor could have come from bleach or chlorine, a toxic element used in the bleach-making process.

Teams neutralized the vapor by moving some of the product causing the fumes into another container.

Bramell said there were no chemical readings outside the plant and no threat to the general public.

There were fewer than 10 employees on site at the time of the incident, Bramell said. All employees were evacuated from the plant as a precaution prior to firefighters’ arrival.

No injuries were reported, and Bramell said the scene was cleared around 11 a.m.

Nearly a year ago, on Jan. 23, hazardous materials crews were called to the plant for a faulty sensor that told officials there was an increased level of chlorine.

The sensor, one of nine, had reportedly malfunctioned that day, and no leak actually occurred.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

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