HAZMAT: Safety Plan in Action

Monday, October 3, 2011 @ 03:10 PM gHale

A failed valve seal led to an ammonia leak at the Tyson Foods plant in Wallula, WA, forcing a temporary evacuation of part of the plant, but officials reported no injuries.

Firefighters from Walla Walla Fire District 5 in Burbank went to the plant last week for a hazardous material response in the mechanical room.

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Chief Mike Wickstrom said a seal in a valve failed on an ammonia line, causing ammonia to get dumped onto the floor. That leak forced the evacuation of workers and a response from the company’s own hazardous material response team, which isolated the leak and shut it down before fire crews arrived, Wickstrom said.

Firefighters then verified everything was OK.

“The problem with ammonia is you definitely don’t want to breathe it, especially in liquid form,” Wickstrom said.

Tyson’s team was able to quickly shut down and drain the system, keeping the incident contained to just the mechanical room. “They did a great job,” he said.
The processing area of the plant was not affected.

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