‘Non-toxic’ Chemical Release Brings in HazMat Team

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 @ 12:10 PM gHale

Firefighters from Utica, Peru, La Salle and Naplate wait at the PQ Corp. gate while a HazMat team inside the Epsom salt plant helps contain what firefighters termed “a non-toxic chemical release” Sunday morning at the Utica plant.

There was a “non-toxic” chemical release Sunday at the PQ Corp. in Utica, IL where the hazardous materials team ended up called.

Firefighters got the call at 9 a.m. to assist PQ staff in containing the release, which was thought to require several hours. There were no injuries, said fire chief Ben Brown.

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PQ Corp. said the chemical that leaked Sunday was sodium silicate, also known as water glass, used in environmentally-friendly detergents.

The chemical leaked from a tank, prompting a response from area fire departments, and there was no air release that would threaten Utica residents or prompt an evacuation.

Reports from the Utica Fire Protection District and Mutual Aid Box Alarm System indicated the material released was not listed as a hazardous substance.

PQ Corp. manufacturers Epsom salt.

Plant workers and EMS workers gathered just inside PQ’s gate and all were dressed in street clothes, not HazMat suits.

Vehicles from Peru, La Salle and Naplate fire departments were parked outside the facility.

This is the first incident at PQ since mid-November, when firefighters doused a short-lived paper fire, and the first industrial reaction in the Illinois Valley since October, when Flint Hills in Peru reported an “adverse reaction” that was contained without air contamination.



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