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Pool chemicals blamed for El Dorado vapor cloud

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published December 19, 2012 at 7:03 a.m. Updated December 19, 2012 at 1:04 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.

— Officials say a vapor cloud from an El Dorado recycling plant that prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people was caused by a reaction between chlorinated swimming pool chemicals.

Authorities said no one was injured when a thick plume of chlorinated gas emerged Tuesday afternoon from the Clean Harbors recycling plant.

Officials said several hundred people, including inmates at the jail, were evacuated as a precaution.

Clean Harbors Senior Vice President Phil Retallick said officials with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are working to determine what caused the chemicals to mix.

Retallick told the El Dorado News-Times that the chemical mixture did not cause a fire at the plant, which disposes of hazardous waste. He said the cause of the reaction is not known and that it will likely take investigators several days to make that determination.

Retallick said the vapor cloud was contained late Tuesday, and the air quality has been determined to be safe.


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