A Pittsburg chemical plant is shut down for safety reasons as investigators look into what caused a pair of chlorine gas leaks were reported Tuesday evening.
According to Leon Zaal, vice president and general manager of K2’s Pittsburg site, the incident is a “business interruption” and there is a problem with a piece of equipment. He further explained that the shutdown was done proactively for safety reasons.
“Safety is our number one priority. They shut down the plant immediately,” said Zaal. “It will remain shut down until the root of the problem has been identified and fixed”.
The company was able to handle the incident using their safety plan and resources with DOW Chemical—including their own fire engine on scene which was firing water onto the plant as a precaution to ensure chemicals in the air were knocked down.
Contrary to reports by some in the area of an explosion and fire, Zaal stated there was no semi-meltdown, no explosion and no risk to the public. The chlorine that did get released remained on scene.
“We have some small release that stayed local and within the premise of the facility. No one was injured and no one within the community was exposed to anything detrimental.” Said Zaal.
As a precaution, unnecessary workers stayed at home Wednesday which is a requirement of their emergency plan.
“We are drilled and trained working with DOW Chemical for when something like this happen’ the emergency plan was implemented,” said Zaal. “The emergency plan did its job”.
For now, K2 is in a phase where they are cleaning up, investigating, checking units to ensure safety and although its not set in stone, they are expecting to start the plant up again in the next 24-to-48-hours.