North Reverse Osmosis Water Plant - Executive Summary

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The North Reverse Osmosis Plant has had a Process Safety Management plan in effect since April 2, 1990. The plan includes safety, health, and environmental requirements for production and quality management. 
Responsibility for protecting people, property, and the environment begins with the ranking facility manager and extends through all levels of the line management organization, including employees. Each person in the line organization from the ranking manager to the employees has specific safety, health, and environmental responsibilities that they cannot delegate to others. They must effectively discharge their personal responsibility for protecting people, property, and the environment to achieve a safe and healthful working environment. 
   One important part of the overall safety and health program involves the prevention of unwanted releases of hazardous chemicals into locations which could expose employees and others to serious hazards as well as the environment and the surro 
unding community. 
   TheProcess Safety Management Program complies with OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals. 
   Our Risk Management Program describes the management system for protecting people, property, and the environment from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals (chlorine gas) in the work place. This is accomplished by systematically evaluating the process, using approaches to access the effectiveness of the process design, technology, operations, maintenance, non-routine activities, procedures, emergency preparedness, training, and other process elements. 
   The North Reverse Osmosis Plant processes and pumps water to the surrounding community in the safest mannerpossible. The hazardous chemical that pertains to our Risk Management Plan is chlorine. Chlorine is one of the chemical elements and is one of the halogens. Neither the gas nor the liquid is explosive or flammable; both react chemically with many substances. C 
hlorine is slightly soluble in water. The gas has a characteristic odor and greenish-yellow color, and is two and a half times as heavy as air. Thus, if it escapes  from a container or system, it will tend to seek the lowest level in the building or area in which the leak occurs. Chlorine gas is primarily respiratory irritant. In sufficient concentration, the gas irritates the mucous membranes, the respiratory system, skin, and the eyes. In extreme cases, difficulty in breathing may increase to the point where death can occur from suffocation. The characteristic, penetrating odor of chlorine gas usually gives warning of its presence in the air. Its greenish-yellow color makes it visible at high concentrations.  
   We store approximately 16,000 pounds of chlorine at the North Reverse Osmosis Plant. It is shipped to us in one-ton cylinders, and the cylinders are placed lengthwise in an enclosed area clearly marked "chlorine". This area is separate from any other process room and makes it  
easier to contain a leak, if one should happen. When placed in their respective places, we pull gas from the upper portion of the cylinder. We use this chlorine gas to disinfect the water we treat at our plant. The gas kills coliform bacteria along with other waterborne bacteria. 
   In the event of a leak, we have an extensive safety procedure. First, we would get a chlorine alarm, and the venting system would automatically come on. Next, we would access the leak and determine the severity. We are instructed to contact the plant superintendent immediately or chief operator if the superintendent cannot be reached. It is up to them to contact the water director and inform him of the situation. In the event of an actual or potential release of a hazardous substance from the facility, in accordance with our plan, we shall immediately notify the Dare County Emergency Communications Center. The information contained in the Dare County Hazardous Materials Emergency Report Form should be provid 
ed by the caller to the extend that it does not delay the initial notification. 
   The telecommunicator receiving the notification for Dare County shall complete the Dare County Hazardous Materials Emergency Report Form and immediately notify the appropriate emergency personnel and the Emergency Management Coordinator. If unable to contact the Emergency Management Coordinator within twenty minutes and/or upon the recommendation of the caller, the telecommunicator is authorized to initiate evacuation procedures in accordance with the Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan.  
For worst-case release scenario, the evacuation would be  1.2 mile distance from the plant. For the alternative scenario, the distance would be 2 miles from the plant.  These scenarios are from the EPA's RMP Comp Program. 
   Our facility would, however, need support from off-site emergency responders in supplying fire-fighting and medical support, if fire or injuries occur. Dare County and the municipality would be res 
ponsible for warning and notifying residents in the potential evacuation areas. 
   To minimize the risk at the plant, we as operators and supervisors are trained in the safe handling of chlorine and other chemicals and procedures pertaining to this plant. Throughout the year, our operators conduct safety meetings with hands-on training and discussions on new policies and procedures. Whenever possible, we attend seminars pertaining to the safe handling of chlorine (i.e. two people must be present in the unloading, changing, and hooking up of our ton cylinders). We also do a two-hourly checklist of our chlorine feed cylinders and ton cylinder in storage. Emergency numbers are posted, spill procedures and evacuation maps and instructions are on hand or posted in the event an incident should occur. We have had no accidental releases or chlorine in the past five years. With the proper instruction and updated safety procedures, we plan to maintain our present standard of performance at this p 
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