Ohio Officials Evacuate Water Plant After Toxic Mistake

Oct. 24, 2003

An Ohio water treatment plant had to be evacuated early Wednesday morning after strong hydrochloric acid fumes were released into the air from a chemical reaction.

Police arrived at the treatment plant after one of the employees mistakenly mixed five gallons of sodium hypochlorite with 15 gallons of hydrofluorosilicic acid, causing a toxic hydrochloric acid to form.

The man, whose name has not been released, had to be transported to Salem Community Hospital for observation. Another man working at the treatment plant also was treated and released.

Emergency Medical Service Director Tom Farley said the men were taken to the hospital as a "precautionary" measure. He said the man that remained hospitalized was coughing "quite a bit."

A hazmat crew from Mahoning County, Ohio, arrived at the scene at later that morning and secured the chemicals in a sealed, inert container. The container is still at the treatment plant and the city is responsible for having it removed.

The Environmental Protection Agency was notified of the incident. According to a press release from the city, the EPA said the treatment plant was safe and could continue operating.

Source: Morning Journal News