IN Bottling Plant Ammonia Leak Forces Evac

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 @ 06:02 PM gHale

An ammonia leak at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Speedway, IN, Saturday forced employees to evacuate, and prompted a significant emergency response by Wayne Township and Speedway Fire Department Hazmat teams.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, 25 workers in the plant noticed a strong ammonia smell, called 911, and immediately evacuated the facility, located near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Two Hazmat teams identified an 80,000 gallon tank as the source of the ammonia leak.

The ammonia is for the refrigeration processes at the plant, and runs through a series of pipes. Systematic closure of shut-off valves helped lower the toxic level inside, but not enough for workers to return immediately.

While inside, response teams had to wear Hazmat suits and use breathing apparatus and also had to go through the decontamination process upon exiting.

Readings eventually dropped from 700 parts per million (ppm) to about 150 ppm. However, for the plant to end up occupied, it has to have readings at 25 ppm or less.

Outside, readings were minimal, about 2 parts per million, and posed no threat to nearby residents and businesses. There were no injuries in the incident.

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