Paragould chlorine spill drill

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - When you think of Paragould Light Water and Cable (PLWC) you may not know they deal with a dangerous chemical every day.

Lisa Ellington with PLWC said, "We deal with chlorine on a daily basis. We actually add chlorine to the wastewater to disinfect it to make sure it's safe to return to the environment."

If there was a chlorine leak, breathing the chemical could cause serious problems.

"It's very corrosive to the atmosphere and it's very damaging to tissue in the human body," said Ellington.

Wednesday morning PLWC held a mock chlorine drill to prepare for a real event.

John Defries with PLWC said, "We have a cylinder that we hook a water hose to, it sprays water out and it simulates chlorine. The fire guys get suited up in their class A suits and go in and shut it down."

Several agencies are involved with this training plan that's known as the Incident Command System.

Lisa Ellington said this plan runs very well.

"You know who's in charge and you know what your job is and what you've got to do. That just makes the drill run better and if it were to happen in real life we would better know how to handle the situation," said Ellington.

Ellington said practice leads to improvement and every year they do the drill they learn something new.

"Chlorine being such a toxic chemical you want to be prepared for it. You want to know all you can about it. And until we started doing these combination drills with the fire department and the hospital, I don't think they really realized how dangerous chlorine was," said Ellington.

Ellington said they have improved their response to chemical spills in many areas including communication. It took a total of an hour and thirty minutes to complete the drill which was faster than anticipated.

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