Incidence of Chlorine leakage at Govindpura Industrial Area on 05th and 06th March 2014 Leak Control and Neutralization Mission successfully accomplished by ERC,MPPCB,Bhopal
A Gas leak was reported at Govindpura Industrial Area from the premises of a scrap dealer by the Regional officer, Bhopal at about 7 PM . The premises was identified to be at Plot No. 7/7, Sector 'H'. while cutting the scrapped Chlorine cylinder with a Gas cutter. Similar incidence is reported to have occurred on 12th Februry at Firozpur, Punjab,where a junk dealer tried to cut a chlorine cylinder. Both the incidences are in blatant violation of Gas Cylinder Rules,2004.
The local fire brigade and the Officials of Department of Industrial Health & Safety were informed by the OIC Emergency Response centre who also moved to the site for taking the stock of the situation. The scrap dealer informed that he had received a scrap consignment in which a tank with a valve was there and his men attempted to cut that tank at about 5PM when some pungent gas started leaking from the tank. All the men fled from the scene and there was a panic in the neighborhood. Some of his men started splashing water on tank which resulted in thick white cloud and aggravated the situation.
By the time the officers of DIHS & ERC reached the site there were no lights in the work area and it was not possible to reach anywhere in the vicinity of the source of the leak but it could be ascertained that the gas was chlorine. Since none of the first responders reached the site, the BHEL safety officer was requested over phone to dispatch the CISF fire & safety response unit to reach the site with SCBA facility so that the assessment of the leak can be made and some action can be taken. The CISF men reached the site at about 9 PM and it was decided that men with SCBA shall reach and find out the size of the leak so that further action may be decided. By this time the leak had also reduced as there was quite some ice. A water screen was set-up by the CISF fire brigade and dragon lights were put on to improve visibility and access to the tank and after some feedback from the scrap dealerís men involved in the cutting operation, the site of hole could be traced to be circular and of about a 10 rupee coin. A wooden peg was carved and then it was sent with the CISF men to be put in the gaping hole. The situation seemed to be under control and there did not seem immediate grave concern and it was thought that the issue may be resolved next day with the. One more visit to site by 1 am confirmed that every thing was OK.
Next day, ie. 06/03/2014 morning, the local Industrial Association office bearer informed that only some pungent smell was there and there was no concern. The leakage of chlorine gas from a scrapped cylinder in the premises on 5th evening had created panic in the area and affected the workers in the surrounding industries. A CISF personnel & two workers were also affected and were sent to the hospital for first aid after coughing and vomiting problem. The ERC scientist was deputed to visit the place with Regional Office officials to take the stock of situation and to get the paperwork & other relevant documents, permissions and license etc. of the Occupier/Scrap vendor. The Joint Director, DIHS informed the ERC on phone that the occupier does not attract any of their concern as it is a scrap dealers premises and not a factory and hence they shall not attend it any more.
There was pungent and penetrating smell of chlorine inside the premises at the time of inspection. The details about manufacturer, supplier or test date etc. were not visible on the cylinder. The cylinder was lying in open on soil surface. Fortunately there was some ice formation on the outer surface of the cylinder forming a good insulation which helped in reduction of vaporization by restricting transmission of external heat into the cylinder. As the Sun advanced chlorine emission rate increased due to rise in ambient temperature. There fore this was informed to the ERC, The district administration, Nagar Nigam chief engineer and BHEL officials were requested to send the help respond the situation. Communication was also made to 108 Ambulance to reach the site. Since the chlorine concentration started rising vary rapidly it was decide to get the leaking gas neutralized on the spot as any attempt to shift Chlorine cylinder seemed counter productive and hazardous as the nearest help capable to deal chlorine issue was at Nagda about 300 kilometers away and would have taken at least six more hours to reach the site.
In the given situation a JCB machine was called to excavate a pit to accommodate the leaked cylinder for nutrilization. The pit was filled with water to which Alkali solution was added and cylinder was lowered vertically in the pit with the help of hydra machine. The level of lime and caustic solution for speedy absorption and neutralization was maintained in the pit as some quantity was seeping underground to the nearby drain. Precaution was taken to ensure that the cylinder does not float in the pit by putting some extra weight on the top. Looking to the quantity of sodium hydroxide and lime consumed in the operation, the quantity of chlorine in the cylinder would have been not less than300 kg. About 50 kg sodium hydroxide and 500 kg of lime was used in the form of slurry during the neutralization operation. Since it was a scrap cutting and fabrication unit, it did not have any safety equipment, neutralizing system or cylinder handling machines, therefore, everything required for tackling the crisis was to be pooled up from outside.
The entire operation could be completed successfully with the sincere support extended by BHEL & CISF officials and also by local Industries Associationís office bearers. CISF responded to the call on both the days and reached at the site with required breathing apparatus, Their Personal Protective Equipments and fire brigade was critical to leak control and in lowering down the leaking chlorine cylinder in the make shift neutralization pit and to establish water curtain. The Medical Help Line (108) also promptly responded to the call. Technical guidance provided on phone by Mr. H.S. Sehgal, Chlorine Expert, Vadodara, proved to be very useful during entire neutralization operation which lasted for about 6 hours. Emergency Response Centre gratefully acknowledges the sincere, selfless and timely help of all the concerned in meeting the crisis during Leak control and Neutralization activity.
The photographic record of some steps taken during the activity are loaded on ERC web sitewww.ercmp.nic.in under recent emergency tackelled
Dear dipil ,
Thanks to share such a nice case study on chlorine gas leakage & emergency control .
This is very helpful to all sector of industries who have usage of chlorine gas & they can take actions in such emergency.
As we all know chlorine is a hazardous gas & having potential to become reason for death of many lives.
By staring this information You helped to all sleeping duties.
From India, Bangalore
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