BREAKING NEWS

Residual chemical elevated at Wacker; no health risks to employees or community

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 9/12/17

According to authorities, there are no new safety issues at the Wacker Polysilicon plant in Charleston, even though alarms went off at the site and employees were placed in a shelter on site for a …

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BREAKING NEWS

Residual chemical elevated at Wacker; no health risks to employees or community

Posted

According to authorities, there are no new safety issues at the Wacker Polysilicon plant in Charleston, even though alarms went off at the site and employees were placed in a shelter on site for a short time Tuesday morning.

Cleveland/Bradley Emergency Management Director Troy Spence said Tuesday afternoon that his agency was contacted about alarms on site, “as they continue to evaluate and clean the facility.”

“There is not an additional issue on site and there is no danger to the public,” Spence said.

Dan King, emergency preparedness manager at the plant, said in a statement sent to Spence and Bradley County Emergency Medical Services Director Shawn Fairbanks that a “slight elevation of residual chemicals stemming from the Sept. 7 incident at the Wacker site in Charleston” was detected.

An explosion at the plant on Sept. 7 led to a chemical leak of trichlorosilane, which was contained by the first response team at Wacker with the use of water from its fire engines. This led to a vapor cloud being formed which caused some in the community near Wacker to be concerned. Some residents said they experienced respiratory tract issues, as well as eye irritation, and noted they sought treatment at Tennova-Cleveland Healthcare

He said according to emergency protocol and precautionary measures, the plant issued an onsite shelter in place, which was lifted Tuesday morning.

“There was no risk to the community or employees,” King stressed.

Spence said he and Fairbanks drove to the site, and once there, saw there was no additional issue to the Sept. 7 incident. He did say that there was a faint odor of hydrochloride in the air.

“What we had were some employees coming out of the shelter in place, and contacting family about the situation,” the EMA director said. Spence added that some of the information passed along from Wacker employees indicated the alarm and shelter to be more serious than it was.

Spence also noted that should there be any change in the severity of the residual chemicals at the plant, the EMA would send a Nixle notice and give the public instructions to protect themselves.

“Nixle is free,” he added. “Just text CBCEMA to the phone number 888777.”

King stated that “safety is our top priority along with the care and well-being of our employees and our community. Our commitment to safety remains our primary focus.”

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