Feds Say Unsafe Power Supply Causes Pa. Acid Cloud
PETROLIA, Pa. (AP) – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says a pump used without an electrical safety shut off caused an acid cloud that forced hundreds of western Pennsylvania residents to evacuate last year.
Indspec Chemical Corp. faces more than $150,000 in state environmental and federal workplace safety fines for the leak in Petrolia on Oct. 11.
Oleum leaked when a transfer tank overflowed because its pump was connected to an outlet without an automatic shutoff. Oleum forms sulfuric acid when exposed to air and the cloud forced 2,500 people from their homes for a day.
The Chemical Safety Board says workers often used the outlet without the automatic shutoff to save time on weekends, when fewer workers were present.
Dave Dorko, who manages the plant 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, says the offending worker was fired.