Iowa water treatment plant agrees to safer work practices

January 27, 2015

In August 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an inspection of chlorine handling practices at the John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The research revealed numerous infractions of the Chemical Accident Prevention regulations under the federal Clean Air Act. Among other hazardous practices, the facility had failed to create and execute a Risk Management Program, had not certified operating procedures annually and neglected to develop safe work practices for chlorine handling.

The EPA Region 7 offices in Lenexa, Kansas filed an administrative compliance order in response to the violations.The Chemical Accident Prevention regulations are intended to prevent accidental releases of toxic substances into the environment, and to minimize the effects of any releases that do occur.

Facilities housing more than 2,500 pounds of chlorine gas are required to follow the EPA's Risk Management Program regulations, a set of guidelines for chemical accident prevention at companies using certain hazardous substances. The John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant was, at the time of the violations, storing and using three to four times that amount of chlorine gas.

The city of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and the water treatment facility have agreed to immediately begin implementing safer work practices and chemical handling procedures. By July 31, 2015 the plant must develop and execute a Risk Management Program, as outlined by federal laws. They must also submit a plan to the EPA, ensuring they are following current chlorine industry standards in their use of the chemical.

In addition to working on compliance, the John T. Pray Water Treatment Plant will also work to help local fire, police and emergency response personal prepare for any potential chemical emergencies at the facility. The plans of action will be available for the public to view in an attempt to improve awareness.

Environmental consultants can help companies and organizations ensure they are consistently in compliance with federal rules and regulations, to decrease liability and allow a continued focus on the business.