Canton Northeast Water Treatment Plant - Executive Summary
The Canton Water Department is committed to providing its communities with clean, safe drinking water. As is common practice with most municipal water providers, in the process of treating the water, the Canton Water Department uses chlorine as a disinfectant for the water. Chlorine gas, as is used by the Water Department, is a toxic chemical in its pure state. This characteristic is what makes chlorine an effective disinfectant when added to water in small concentrations. However, special care must be used in handling and processing the chlorine used to treat the water to protect the health of both employees of the Water Department and the general public. The Canton Water Department has developed a Risk Management Program to minimize the possibility of releases of chlorine, and to ensure an immediate, effective response in the case that a release does occur. The Canton Water Department is committed to this program to protect its employees as well as the general public. |
One of t
he initial steps of the Risk Management Program was to determine the possible chlorine release scenarios. The worst case release scenario and a more realistic release scenario were determined using computer models developed by the U.S. EPA. These scenarios were then used to further evaluate the Department's Release Prevention Program and Emergency Response plan.
The worst case scenario was determined to be if one of the chlorine cylinders would be damaged during unloading from the truck during delivery, such as if it were dropped. It was assumed that the full contents of the cylinder, 2,000 pounds of chlorine, were release into the air outside of the plant buildings in 10 minutes. It was also assumed that the weather conditions were very calm. This was done to further evaluate worst case conditions since calm weather would not disperse the chlorine cloud as much as a breezy day. Based on these assumptions, the computer model determined that toxic levels of chlorine would affect n
eighbors within 1.3 miles of the plant. The effects would be primarily downwind of the plant. It should be noted that a hole greater than 2-inches in diameter would be required to produce this scenario. The construction of the cylinders makes this unlikely. The cylinders are carefully unloaded from the trucks by trained personnel with a forklift; thus the likelihood of the cylinders being damaged is minimal.
The alternate release scenario that was evaluated was a cylinder valve failing inside of the chlorine process area. This would release the same quantity of chlorine, however it would be at a slower rate in a more enclosed area. More likely weather conditions were also used in this scenario. The effects of this scenario only extended 0.1 miles from the release point. Although this scenario was considered to be more likely than the catastrophic failure evaluated in the worst case scenario, it is still highly unlikely that this would occur. The chlorine process area has dete
ctors that would immediately detect the start of the release, and plant personnel are equipped and trained to repair such damage.
The Canton Water Department has a Release Prevention Program that is used to minimize the chance of any release occurring. The Program details standard operating procedures, employee training, and maintenance procedures that have been developed and successfully used by the water treatment industry. To be prepared in the case of an accidental release, the Canton Water Department has developed an Emergency Response Plan. The plan details how a release would be handled, medical treatments, and employee training. The Canton Water Department also coordinates its Emergency Response procedures with the local fire departments.
In summary, the Canton Water Department has developed the Risk Management Program to further protect its workers and the public from the possible accidental release of chlorine. It will continue to review and update the program, as new
technologies become available and to address changes in the water treatment process.