Clermont County Lower East Fork WWTP - Executive Summary
The Clermont County Water and Sewer District, in southwest Ohio, operates three facilities which use one-ton containers of chlorine gas. Gas from the containers is drawn into a stream of water through an "injector". The resulting stream of chlorinated water is piped into the treatment processes. |
The Lower East Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant (LEFWWTP), at 1005 US 50 in Miami Township, has a maximum capacity of 3 tons of chlorine and uses about 5 tons per year to eliminate bacteria in its effluent flow to the river.
The County has shaped its safety policies, standard operating procedures, maintenance, and training to emphasize the prevention of any chlorine leaks. If, despite this preparation, a leak occurs, the facilities are designed to contain it. If containment cannot be accomplished, the County Emergency Response Agency is prepared, along with the Miami Township Fire Department and the Greater Cincinnati Hazmat Team, to stop the leak at its source and to minimize
its impact on the public. For at least the last five years, and possible since the treatment plant opened in 1979, there has never been a chlorine leak of a magnitude sufficient to require emergency response, or to affect the public. No plant operator has undergone exposure sufficient to require medical assistance.
Leak scenarios were performed on a computer model by the County Emergency Response Agency. If an actual leak occurs, the computer model can be used to determine, in a matter of minutes, what area (if any) needs to be evacuated, based on the amount of chlorine released and the current atmospheric conditions.
The worst case scenario was based on the complete release of the maximum inventory of chlorine within 10 minutes. This could only occur if all the ton containers were full and were simultaneously ruptured, which would require extraordinary circumstances and considerable outside force. At LEFWWTP, under average weather conditions, with minimal wind from the
southwest, the worst case scenario shows the chlorine moving into a residential area off Wolfpen-Pleasant Hill Road, south of State Route 131. A business area on State Route 131 just east of Wolfpen-Pleasant Hill Road would also be affected.
The alternate scenario was based on a more realistic possibility: a single one-ton container leaking through a broken pipe or valve, with the leak stopped in one hour. Using average weather conditions and a minimal wind from the southwest, the computer model projects a chlorine plume that would affect businesses and homes within 1600 yards of the treatment plant.
Treatment plant operators are careful in their duties and respectful of the potential danger of chlorine. They are trained to prevent leaks, and know how to respond if one should occur. Access to the facility is controlled. The Clermont County Water and Sewer District has been, and remains, trustworthy in the handling of chlorine.