Worker treated for chlorine exposure at city water plant

A Salisbury Water Treatment Plant employee was treated at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional after he was exposed to a chlorine leak on Thursday.

City officials said the Water Operator at the Paleo Water Treatment Plant identified a gaseous chlorine leak after he entered the chlorine cylinder room to swap out an empty chlorine cylinder as part of his normal shift operations. 

The employee immediately notified the Water Treatment Plant Assistant Superintendent, who contacted the Salisbury Fire Department.

The employee who identified the leak and was exposed to the chlorine was sent to the Salisbury medical center for an evaluation, where he received oxygen and was released.

City and Delmar firefighters responded to the Naylor Mill Road facility and contained the chlorine leak, officials said.

Two members of the Hazmat Response Team capped off the 150-pound cylinder of gaseous chlorine with a leak containment kit. The cylinder, now safely secured, will be transported back to the chlorine distributor.

There were no injuries to humans or the environment and no damage to any property or equipment as a result of this incident, officials said. The Water Treatment Plant has been cleared to return to normal operations.

Salisbury uses gaseous chlorine to disinfect the water as part of the treatment process in controlled and diluted amounts. Gaseous chlorine is poisonous and classified as a pulmonary irritant and can cause acute damage to the upper and lower respiratory tract.

The Paleo Water Treatment Plant is equipped with a large chlorine scrubber that automatically detects and neutralizes chlorine gas in the air as soon as it is leaked in the event of an incident such as this. 

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