On Oct. 21, 2016, 11,000 Atchison, Kan. citizens were forced to evacuate after two chemicals combined at the nearby MGPI Processing facility, forming a toxic cloud.
The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a video detailing the circumstances that led up to the accident.
“Delivery and unloading operations may be perceived as simple compared to other processes at chemical facilities, but because these activities can involve large quantities of chemicals, the consequences of an incident can be severe," says Chairperson Sutherland in the video. "Our case study on the MGPI incident stresses that facilities must pay careful attention to the design and operation of chemical transfer equipment to prevent similar events.”
The accidental mix of sulfuric acid and sodium hypochlorite occurred after a routine delivery, causing more than 140 reported injuries in addition to the evacuations.
The video explains how a truck from a chemical distribution company, Harcros Chemicals, was delivering sulfuric acid to MGPI. The MGPI operator escorted the driver to a loading area where he unlocked the sulfuric acid fill line for the driver to connect the truck’s hose. However, the sodium hypochorite line also was unlocked, causing the two incompatible chemicals to mix, forming a dense cloud containing toxic chlorine gas and other chemicals, according to the CSB.
Watch the video below to learn the key takeaways from the lead investigators of the incident.