Almirante Sur (Vega Baja) Filtration Plant - Executive Summary
Compaqma de Aguas de Puerto Rico (CAPR) as operator of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer |
Authority (PRASA) system has developed a Risk Management Plan (RMP) for management and
prevention of risks associated with the storage and use of chlorine, a regulated toxic substance, at
the Almirante Sur (Vega Baja) Water Filtration Plant. The RMP was prepared in compliance with 40 CFR Part 68 and Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r)(1). The Prevention Program elements build upon the facility's Process Safety Management (PSM) system prepared in compliance with 29 CFR Part 1910.119.
Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policies
It is CAPR's policy to comply with applicable Federal and Puerto Rican requirements. The
chlorination process at the Almirante Sur Water Filtration Plant uses chlorine, a hazardous toxic
substance regulated by EPA, OSHA, and PROSHO. Due to the hazardous characteristics of
chlorine, the Almirante Sur Water Filtration Plant observes various safety precauti
ons in the
storage, conveyance and use of chlorine. The safety precautions are necessary to protect
employees, contractors, and visitors at the Almirante Sur Water Filtration Plant and the
immediately surrounding areas. Safety precautions include procedures and equipment to minimize
the potential for accidental release, as well as a written emergency response program for response
to any chlorine release that may occur.
The Stationary Source and Regulated Substances Handled
The Almirante Sur Water Filtration Plant supplies over 1.0 mgd of water to the surrounding community. Chlorine is used to disinfect the water, destroying microorganisms that could cause illness in humans.
Chlorine is delivered to the facility via truck in ton containers. The storage building has space for
up to five full containers, a total of 10,000 pounds of chlorine. Chlorine containers are connected
to vacuum chlorinators. The chlorinators regulate chlorine use. From the chlorinators, chlorine
gas is di
stributed under vacuum to injectors. The injectors combine the gaseous chlorine with
water. The chlorinated water is mixed with the water plant flow for disinfection.
Worst-case and Alternative Release Scenarios
The worst-case release scenario was determined following EPA's Risk Management Program
Offsite Consequence Analysis Guidance. The worst-case release scenario is a vapor release of the
entire contents of a ton container over a ten minute period (200 pounds of chlorine per minute).
Other worst-case assumptions required by EPA include a low wind speed (1.5 meters per
second), stable atmosphere (Class F), urban topography, and no active mitigation of the release.
EPA requires the determination of the area (zone of vulnerability) which may be exposed to a
chlorine concentration of 3 ppm or greater. According to the American Industrial Hygiene
Association, 3 ppm is the maximum concentration of chlorine in air below which nearly all people
could be exposed for one hour without
serious health effects. Based on the worst-case
assumptions, the zone of vulnerability was determined to extend 1.3 miles from the chlorine
The following are known to be within the zone of vulnerability for the worst-case release
scenario: residences, school, and recreation area (river).
Approximately 2,400 residents are located within a 1.3 mile radius of the chlorine storage area. Many of these residents would not actually be impacted in even a worst-case release, as the chlorine would travel in the direction of wind. No known environmental receptors (such as state parks or officially designated wildlife preserves) are located within the zone of vulnerability.
The conditions and parameters for the worst-case scenario are specified by EPA. A more realistic
alternative release scenario was examined, also following EPA's Risk Management Program
Offsite Consequence Analysis Guidance. The alternative release scenario is a vapor release of the
entire contents of a
ton container through a broken 3/8 inch flexible connector tube. If the
container was not shut off, the contents would be released at a rate of 21 pounds of chlorine per
minute over a 95 minute period. More typical weather conditions are also used (wind speed of
3.0 meters per second, atmospheric stability Class D). Other conditions remain the same as in the
worst-case scenario (urban topography and no mitigation of the release).
The zone of vulnerability for the alternative release scenario is determined to extend 0.1 miles from the chlorine storage area. Approximately 20 residents are located within a 0.1 miles radius of the chlorine storage area. These residents could be impacted, depending on the direction of wind. No known environmental receptors are located within the zone of vulnerability.
General Accidental Release Prevention Program and Chemical-specific Prevention Steps
CAPR complies with PROSHO requirements for Prevention Programs and for Process Safety
Operators, maintenance staff and contractors are informed of chlorine hazards, and
hazard signs are posted in the chlorine storage area. Standard operating and maintenance
procedures have been developed, and employees who work with chlorine are provided training.
Emergency Response Program
CAPR has an emergency response program. Chlorine gas detectors are located within the storage
area for early detection and warning of any leak. Leak repair kits are maintained on site, and
operators are trained in how to quickly stop any leak that may occur. The emergency response
program is coordinated with Civil Defense for notification of the public.
CAPR periodically conducts various training programs, including emergency response training. All CAPR facilities are scheduled to recieve refresher training by September 30, 1999.
Five-year Accident History
Within the past five years there have been no unplanned releases of chlorine in excess of 10
pounds resulting in injuries or significant
property damage on site; or known offsite injuries,
evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage.
Planned Changes to Improve Safety
CAPR uses Process Hazard Analyses (PHA) to identify and recommend changes to ensure a high
level of safety. Issues identified from a PHA are then addressed in CAPR's Prevention Program. Assessments of the chlorine processes were conducted during April and May 1999 for each CAPR facility. Documentation of the formal PHA for this facility will be conpleted by July 20, 1999. An audit of the
RMP and PSM programs will be conducted within three years to verify the effectiveness of the