Pittsville reviews chlorine leak failure

Everything is back to normal and running smoothly at Pittsville’s water treatment plant a week after a chlorine leak sent a yellow cloud into the sky and two workers to the hospital.

“It’s all clear now,” said Denver Moore, president of the Town Council. “It was all clear at 3 o’clock that afternoon,” he said.

A faulty valve cause chlorine to leak just before 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25,  and Moore dialed 911.

Two employees were exposed and taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center. One of them, John Elliott, was back on the job Monday, Sept. 29. Brandon Wilkins, superintendent, returned to work the afternoon of the spill.

“Everyone is at full job capacity,” Moore said this week.

Thirty-four pounds of chlorine, which is heavier than air, escaped from the 175-pound container after the valve malfunctioned.

Pittsville treats 125,000 gallons of water every day. Chlorine is added to the water to kill bacteria and make it safe to drink.

The Pittsville fire department, and surrounding units including Wicomico and Sussex, responded and hazardous materials specialists were on the scene after the spill. Nearby schools kept children and staff inside and afternoon pre-kindergarten was canceled.

Town hall employees moved to the fire department.  Families in homes around the area were asked to stay inside, but the area was declared safe by that afternoon.


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