At approximately 1100hrs on April 30, 2004, the Putney Paper Co., located at 316 Main Street, Putney, VT, had a release of chlorine gas. The release occurred when a strong acid was mistakenly transferred from a delivery truck into a 9000 gallon capacity tank containing 3000 gallons of sodium hypochlorite. The facility was immediately evacuated and local response organizations were notified. At 1500hrs, the EPA Duty Officer received notification of the incident.
On arrival, the Putney Fire Department verified that all occupants had vacated the facility. Fire and Police personnel evacuated nearby residents located within a half-mile radius and downwind from the facility. Additional resources were brought to the incident from nearby communities including: the Keene Hazardous Materials(HAZMAT)Team, decontamination trailers, and medical support personnel.
Eight persons (7 employees and 1 citizen) complained of dizziness and/or throat irritation. All eight were treated on-site and released.
At approximately 1400hrs, the Keene HAZMAT Team performed an entry into the facility to monitor for chlorine gas. Results of the air monitoring indicated that the chlorine gas had dissipated and the facility was safe to enter.
After consulting with the chemical manufacturers and a Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation representative, the Putney Fire Department added water to the 9000 gal. tank to cool down its contents.
By 1730hrs, the Putney Fire Department had released the facility back to the owner and all response assets were demobilized from the incident location.
At 1900hrs, the EPA OSC and START contractor personnel arrived at the incident location. The situation was stable and the mill was back in operation. The mill's Environmental Manager and the Fire Chief briefed the OSC and START personnel and provided a tour of the facility.
At 2030hrs, EPA and START demobilized from the incident location.