A “burst disc” that ruptured on a tank led to a release of carbon tetrachloride at the Dover Chemical Corp. plant in Dover, OH, Wednesday.
City firefighters said there was no hazard to the public from the release. Fire Capt. Mike Mossor said firefighters got the call to the facility at 6:54 a.m. where the “burst disc” ruptured on a tank and carbon tetrachloride released.
Mossor said the process immediately shut down and the spill ended up contained on the property of the Dover Chemical plant.
James Moore, Dover Chemical’s director of environmental health and safety, said the chemical that spilled was a heavy chlorinated wax material that contains carbon tetrachloride as a byproduct. He said company officials are unsure of how much carbon tetrachloride released, as it depends on the purity of the batch that was cooking in a reactor.
Moore said most of the reactor solution released from the reactor into a safety concrete containment tank and that some spilled onto an adjacent in-plant roadway. “There is no liquid release outside Dover plant’s property,” he said.
Moore said the reactor release began at about 6:35 a.m., and concluded at 6:45 a.m. “Event Control was established within minutes of the release with automated shutdown systems,” he said.
Moore said company officials had two meetings regarding the release Wednesday, and an investigation continued for the rest of the week trying to determine what caused the disc to rupture and how much material released.
“The Dover plant is investigating the event,” Moore said, “and will take the appropriate action to maintain safety and prevent future releases.”
The reactor affected by Wednesday’s release holds 2,100 gallons of material “when charged,” Moore said. Because of a pressure drop, there would have been “way less” than half of the reactor’s contents involved in the release, he added.
Moore said the company, in addition to notifying the Dover Fire Department about the chemical release, also notified the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
“There were no injuries, and our assistance was not needed,” Mossor said. He added the spill area on the ground was about 20-by 20-feet in size.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website said carbon tetrachloride may be in both ambient outdoor and indoor air. It says the primary effects of carbon tetrachloride in humans are on the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
“Human symptoms of acute (short-term) inhalation and oral exposures to carbon tetrachloride include headache, weakness, lethargy, nausea, and vomiting. Acute exposures to higher levels and chronic (long-term) inhalation or oral exposure to carbon tetrachloride produces liver and kidney damage in humans,” according to the website.
The U.S. EPA has classified carbon tetrachloride as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.