Chemical leaks from water plant

| 07 Dec 2015 | 12:44

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct erroneous information.

By Vera Olinski
There was a serious sodium hypochlorite leak at the Sussex Water Treatment Plant at about 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

Two Agra Environmental workers were taken to St. Claire's Hospital in Dover and treated for fume inhalation.

Councilman Robert Holowach said the leak occurred Thursday night, Dec. 3, after a delivery of chlorine.

Mike Furrey, the owner of Agro Environmental, said there was a minor leak on Thursday night after the tanks were filled, but it got worse overnight. The leak went into a damaged containment area and when the chlorine escaped, it reacted with polyaluminum chloride, which created the noxious fumes.

Furrey said the issue was resolved by pumping the chlorine into a sludge holding tank.

Sussex Borough has a contract with Agra to operate the water plant.

The problem was fixed by 7 p.m. Friday, and the plant was fully operational by then. All emergency services cleared the situation by 12:45 p.m.

Furrey said emergency services were locked out, so the Fire Department had to break into the plant.

Holowach further explained that any time someone gets hurt, it triggers state inspections where they go through “everything” in the plant, from a health and safety perspective.