Chemical spill triggers explosion at Maine sewage plant

Posted May 05, 2014, at 5:48 p.m.
Emergency crews went to the scene of a chemical spill and small explosion at the Kennebunk Sewer Department on Water Street on Monday.
Jennifer Feals | York County Coast Star
Emergency crews went to the scene of a chemical spill and small explosion at the Kennebunk Sewer Department on Water Street on Monday.

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Emergency crews were at the scene of a chemical spill Monday at the Kennebunk Sewer Department on Water Street.

The spill happened after two chemicals mixed, leading to a small explosion in the building.

Kennebunk Fire Chief Stephen Nichols said fire crews went to the Sewer Department on Water Street at 10:20 Monday morning after two chemicals were reported to have mixed. Nichols said during a delivery of bioxide, a solution put in the sewer to eliminate odor, two valves crossed, mixing the bioxide with chlorine bleach.

“They were unsure of the reaction,” Nichols said. “This is not anything they normally mix together.”

While crews were investigating, Nichols said, a plastic tank containing chlorine bleach exploded when the lid was lifted and the chemical mixed with oxygen. He said a member of the Fire Department was thrown off a ladder in the explosion.

“He’s fine. Everybody’s doing good,” Nichols said. “The public doesn’t need to panic, we just need to get this cleaned up.”

The York County Hazardous Materials Team was at the scene and members could be seen on site in hazmat suits Monday afternoon. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard hazmat team is on its way to conduct a cleanup, Nichols said.

The problem has been contained to the building and is not expected to interrupt service, said District Manager Michael Bolduc.

 

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