Chemical leak sends worker to hospital
Personnel from Frisco Fire Department's hazardous materials unit take chlorine readings from the air surrounding a well-water treatment facility on Tuesday night in The Colony./Blaine Crimmins, staff photo
THE COLONY -- An electrical malfunction resulted in a chlorine leak Tuesday night at The Colony's well-water treatment facility on Main and Chowning streets. A city employee responding to the chlorine alarm was later taken to the hospital for exposure to the chemicals.
At about 8:45 p.m., units from The Colony Fire Department arrived at the facility and found noticeable traces of chlorine still in the air. As a precaution, Frisco Fire Department's hazardous materials unit was called out to take some readings. At that point, The Colony Fire Chief Scott Thompson said they were not 100-percent sure the leak had been fully contained.
Frisco's hazmat units arrived, investigated the structure, and determined that the leak had been stopped.
The Colony's Executive Director of Operations Tod Maurina said the leak originated from a 150-pound chlorine cylinder and was the result of an electrical malfunction.
"More than it being a leak, we had an electronic failure on some equipment and it didn't shut down the chlorine feed, so it kept feeding gas" in the absence of water, Maurina said. The system "injects [the chlorine] into the water where it becomes soluble. It backed up and caused an alarm."
Maurina said it was a small leak and that the city employee who shut off the cylinder wasn't seriously injured. He added that the leak was not a threat to public safety and that use of chlorine was a standard part of the water disinfection process. The well-water from this facility, which has been shut down until Wednesday to investigate the source of the problem, is a back-up supply of water to the city's primary sources.
Though still not sure exactly what caused the malfunction, Maurina said a newly installed gauge may have been faulty, resulting in the chlorine cylinder failing to shut off properly.