Feb 17, 2004

Chlorine Gas a Potential Hazard at Wastewater Facilities

WWD Readers Should Know…

Nearly 19 million Americans are at risk from exposure to dangerous chlorine gas used at 45 wastewater treatment facilities, according to a report released by the Environmental Defense Fund and a coalition of environmental groups. A major incident, accidental or deliberate, at only one of these plants could kill or seriously injure more than 100,000 people, according to Environmental Defense.
“All facilities using large amounts of dangerous chemicals have a public responsibility to reduce the hazards they pose,” said Carol Andress, an analyst for Environmental Defense. “For wastewater treatment, there is no excuse for using chlorine gas. Safer alternatives are available, affordable and practical for facilities large and small.”
Six of these wastewater treatment plants (Back River Wastewater Treatment Facility in Baltimore; Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver; Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant; Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant in Modesto, Calif.; the City of Niagara Fall Wastewater Treatment Plant; and Central Valley Reclamation in Salt Lake City) could affect more than one million residents, the group said.
Facilities using chlorine gas as disinfection should switch to safer alternatives, such as sodium hypochlorite or ultraviolet light, according to a report entitled “Eliminating Hometown Hazards: Cutting Chemical Risks at Wastewater Treatment Facilities.”
The report is available at http://www.environmentaldefense.org.

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