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A malfunctioning cylinder released chlorine gas at the Tompkinsville, KY, sewage treatment plant forcing an evacuation of the area.

“The operators were calling in from the sewer treatment plant that there had been a chlorine gas leak. As we got over here we found the operators out of the facility,” said Monroe County Emergency Management Director David Rich.

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Emergency management set up a command post at the old Monroe County High School before clearing a one-mile radius area.

“We proceeded to evacuate from the immediate area. We evacuated businesses and homes.”

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As emergency management crews read the chlorine levels in the air last Tuesday morning, dozens of people were sent to the armory in Tompkinsville.

A few hours after the leak, chlorine readings went down and the people stuck at the armory were able to head home, but the sewer plant remained contaminated.

“The city will be bringing in the local provider of the chlorine gas,” said Rich. “They’ll bring in their own specialty crew to clear the area down there to make sure that’s okay to go back into operation as normal.”

Emergency management said they’re not sure if the chlorine tube malfunctioned, or if it had something to do with how it was installed, but all quarantines were lifted by the end of Tuesday.

Kentucky Emergency Management and Warren County Management responded to the scene along with Monroe County Crews. Those emergency workers said sewer plant should be back to normal by Tuesday night as well.

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