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UPDATE: DuPont Confirms Chemical Leak in Wurtland

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/14/12 @ 7:30 p.m.
WURTLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- It's been frustrating few days for Julia Shafer. There was a time on Tuesday she thought the woods behind her home were on fire.

"There was what appeared to be a smoke cloud over the house right here," Shafer said. "We thought the woods were on fire. We didn't know what was going on."

It turns out the DuPont Plant, less than a quarter mile away, and an accidental release of sulfuric acid.

"This event should have never happened," plant manager Curtis Tritapoe said. "We activated our emergency response system as soon as we were notified."

Tritapoe says the calls went out to their corporate neighbors to shelter in place after the release of 10 pounds of sulfuric acid. Regulatory agencies and the local office of emergency management were also notified of the release.

"When it happened, we knew nothing about it," said Sherry Chapman, deputy director with Greenup County 911.

The local 911 office was not notified directly by DuPont, and Chapman is hoping that changes in the future.

"If someone sees something like that, the public's going to call in," Chapman said. "The first place they call is 911. So, I believe no matter how much is released, small or big, we should be the first to be notified."

DuPont's plant manager tells WSAZ it's going through its emergency response procedures and critique them to make sure it's notifying the right people in a timely fashion.



UPDATE 11/14/12 @ 11:05 a.m.
WURTLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The DuPont Plant in Wurtland, Ky. activated its emergency response system after a sulfuric acid leak on Tuesday afternoon.

About 10 pounds of sulfuric acid mist leaked from the plant approximately 2:30 Tuesdayday afternoon, according to Plant Manager Curtis Tritapoe.

DuPont is required to alert certain agencies as to what was happening -- but 911 was not notified of the leak Tritapoe said.

"Is 911 one of the agencies required to be notified?" asked WSAZ.com.

"It is depending upon the severity of the release. We did not have a real large amount obviously with approximately 10 pounds of material being released. We didn't feel like it would be getting too far off the site or away from us," Tritapoe said. "911 did end up responding after neighboring businesses called thinking there was a fire at the plant."

The cloud was mostly contained to the plant site although some of the mist floated to properties just off the plant grounds.

A neighboring plant, Pregis, was notified of the leak and a shelter in place was recommended by Dupont. That was the only plant notified because of the close proximity to the leak.

At this time there are no reports of any injuries.

DuPont will now go back and review its procedures to make sure they are "doing the right things for the right reasons, in my mind this event should have never happened " Tritapoe said.



ORIGINAL STORY
WURTLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- DuPont says a leak of sulphuric acid at its Wurtland plant was quickly contained Tuesday afternoon.

Aaron Woods, a spokesperson for DuPont, tells WSAZ.com the leak was reported at 2:35 p.m. Woods says about 10 pounds of the chemical leaked out and was contained in about 10 minutes.

He says the plant's emergency response team monitored air quality inside the plant and along the fence line immediately following the leak. He says a small of amount of the chemical escaped the plant grounds, but quickly dissipated.

Woods also tells WSAZ.com that all required regularity agencies were notified including the company's fence line neighbors, including the Pregis plant. He did not know if Greenup 911 was notified.

An employee at the Pregis plant said they had to shelter-in-place and put towels at the bottom of doors in their office because the gas was coming inside.

Woods says the company will be reviewing its notification system for the Wurtland plant.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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