Chlorine leaks from Detroit wastewater treatment plant

Shawn D. Lewis and Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

Detroit — An official with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said a recent leak of chlorine gas at the plant on W. Jefferson Avenue was contained to one area of the operation and neither members of the public nor employees were exposed to any harmful chemicals.

The 13-minute chlorine leak occurred Monday afternoon in a process area. Scrubber inlets in that area pulled the gas in and treated it with chemicals to reduce the toxicity before releasing it into the air.

“No personnel were exposed to the chlorine as the leak was in the isolated process area, not the living area,” spokesman Gregory Eno said Tuesday in a written response to questions. “The personnel are HAZMAT-trained professionals — to (them) this would not be (being) placed in a danger.”

Eno said DWSD’s water customers were also never in any danger.

“It really had no impact on people who drank water at that time,” he said. “But we feel duty-bound to let stakeholders, like the (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) and the press, know about an incident when it occurs.”

The spill happened between 3:06 p.m. and 3:19 p.m.

Mary Ryan, the chlorination operator for the wastewater treatment plant, said the cause of the leak is under investigation. It was initially discovered during a preventive maintenance check and the faulty equipment has been isolated.

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