Gas leak labeled routine

(Filed August 27, 2013) Calvert City- A chemical release contact notice sent to Marshall County Emergency Planning Committee released by Calvert Mayor Lynn Jones last Friday said the chlorine gas release at Westlake Chemicals in Calvert City lasted only five minutes from 2:45 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. last Thursday afternoon and the quantity of gas was greater than 10 pounds.

The copy of the report sent to Marshall County’s emergency management indicated by checking a box on the form that the release was routine. The report indicates if routine is checked no help is needed and there is no danger to the community.

The report characterized the release of the Chlorine gas at a chlorine bullet in the firm’s tank farm and as being an isolated release source. However several members of the community have express concern about the lack of emergency notice when a chlorine leak did occur at the plant.

Last Thursday afternoon Westlake Chemicals Human Resource Manager Kent Johnson said the release of Chlorine from the plant that lasted approximately 15-20 minutes. Johnson said that employees of the plant were evacuated to safe areas as a precaution and that to their knowledge there was no threat outside of the plant area.

He went on to say that they are investigating what caused the release and that the chlorine release had been stopped.

No components of the siren warning system or the telephone ring down system were activated by Marshall County Central Dispatch. Calvert City Elementary School and Calvert City Convalescent Center were not notified about the leak.

Concerns about the absence of any notification about a chlorine leak result in questions from several people in the Calvert City community. Chlorine is poisonous, flammable and explosive so any amount of release is a cause for concern.