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Nearly 500 evacuated after chemical release in El Dorado

By David Harten

This article was published December 18, 2012 at 5:21 p.m.


The marker indicates the site of Clean Harbors' Recycling Services facility in El Dorado, where a chemical release caused the evacuation of nearly 500 people in the area Tuesday.

Authorities have evacuated nearly 500 people after a chemical release at an El Dorado plant.

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Tommy Jackson said that initial reports indicated a fire within the Clean Harbors' Recycling Services facility could have exposed area citizens to unhealthy amounts of a chlorine-based cleansing agent that is stored within the plant.

The area where the fire was believed to have started was holding 1,249 five-gallon buckets of the cleansing agent.

The Union County sheriff's office evacuated a five-mile line of residents, heading north, due to a chemical cloud that was traveling from the facility in that direction. The sheriff's office, along with its staff and 190 inmates, was also evacuated.

There have been no injuries reported, and there is no immediate information on the cause of the fire.

The Clean Harbors Recycling Services facility in El Dorado provides "recycling, reuse and reclamation options for hazardous and non-hazardous materials including solvents, chemicals and oil, light bulbs, transformers and other electrical equipment," according to its website.


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CCsafetyguy says... December 19, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.

Incidents like this, which are not uncommon and happen across the country virtually daily, remind us of the need to prepare for possible emergency situations, such as a hazardous chemical release. The LEPC, local hazmat organization and local industries that use/store/produce/transport hazardous chemicals should investigate the acquisition and use of commercially available technologies (specialized software and hardware) that specifically address chemical releases and allow emergency management and response personnel to plan for, detect and more effectively respond to a real chemical emergency incident. Using such technologies can help to minimize the impact of a hazmat release event. But buyer beware. Some chemical emergency response technologies from the so-called industry leaders are likely not live up to their sales hype. Two good articles to read are Chemical Emergencies: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow published in EHS Today, a Penton Media publication, Feb 1, 2010 and 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hazmat/Chemical Emergency Technologies, written by Chris Cowles and also published in EHS Today by Penton Media November 30, 2011. Both articles are posted on the EHS Today website.

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