[Durham INC] response: Communications & Evacuation Plan for chemical spills in Durham (esp along RR tracks)
bwatu at yahoo.com
bwatu at yahoo.com
Tue May 26 14:16:43 EDT 2009
Thanks, Mike. Folks, here's some more information about communications and evacuation plans for chemical spills in Durham (esp along the RR tracks).
Friday, 22 May 2009
The News & Observer is reporting that a train car derailed this morning and is leaking sodium hydroxide in East Durham. The article say it's leaking an estimated 15 gallons of liquid lye a minute (see below).
Below is an exchange with the City manager's office back in 2006. Answers weren't forthcoming (back in '06). With today's incident, would it be possible to ask staff to address the points raised in my Oct 2006 email (below)? [Email was also posted on the INC listserv at the time.]
If a communications and evacuation plan does exist, would you please ask staff to share it with the neighborhoods and others located near Durham's RR tracks?
Friday, 22 May 2009
The 911 Emergency Communications Center has a notification system called Code Red, which is designed to notify large numbers of people for a variety of reasons including emergency situations. Durham County Emergency Manager Jeff Batten noted that a Code Red message can provide specific information to the citizens in the affected area and indicate whether they are to evacuate or shelter in place. If practical and possible, door to door notification is an option that may be utilized, too. If evacuation is to be used, then additional information would be provided regarding the assembly location. As far as moving large numbers of people, this can be accomplished by using buses from the Durham Public School System, Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) or Southern Coach Company.
Since the potential for a hazardous chemical release in eastern portion of Durham is higher than other portions of the City, the East Durham Evacuation Plan was designed several years ago. This evacuation plan is scheduled to be reviewed and revised later this year.
The Regional Response Team (RRT) is trained and equipped to respond to a variety of hazardous materials emergencies as well as the Durham Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team. These personnel are highly trained and have the equipment and resources to evaluate the situation, develop an appropriate plan of action and mitigate the identified threat. Additional state and federal resources are also available upon request. This process is used for each incident, but a more detailed plan is incident specific.
Bruce T. Pagan, Jr.
Durham Fire Department
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
From: "John Schelp" <bwatu at yahoo. com>
Have you had a chance to ask your staff to reply to my message of Oct 20?
I've added another example from today's Fayetteville Observer (see below).
Thanks. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
> 20 Oct 2006
> Below is FYI (from today's AP wire).
> With the Apex fire in mind, does Durham have
> communication and evacuation plans in place for
> chemical spills from trains?
> How would neighbors near the RR tracks be notified?
> Where would shelters be located for a chemical spill
> in East Durham, downtown or in West Durham?
> What plans are in place to test the air, water and
> soil before giving residents the "All Clear" to
> return home?
> with appreciation,
> Chemical Spill Prompts Evacuation in Ky.
> Associated Press, 19 Oct 2006
> A railroad tanker that was leaking hydrochloric acid
> forced the evacuation Thursday of much of this far
> western Kentucky town along the Tennessee border,
> authorities said.
> The leak had not yet been contained, said Donna
> Cook, dispatch supervisor for Fulton police and
> There were no reports of injuries in the town of
> about 2,500 people, she said.
> The evacuation covered a half-mile radius and
> a high school and elementary school, she said.
> Students were taken to a high school just across the
> state line in South Fulton, Tenn.
> Shelters were set up at a church and a senior
> citizens center, she said.
Tractor trailer spills chemical near I-95
Fayetteville Observer, 5 Dec 2006
A tractor trailer carrying 44,000 pounds of
formaldehyde overturned Monday night on an onramp to
Interstate 95 when the driver swerved to miss a deer.
The accident prompted the State Highway Patrol and a
local hazardous materials response team to close
southbound lanes of the interstate for seven miles
under suspicions formaldehyde was leaking from the
source... http://www.fayobser ver.com/article? id=248634
Train car leaking lye in Durham
News & Observer, 22 May 2009
A train car derailed this morning and is now leaking sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye. No injuries have been reported, but at least one home has been evacuated.
The car, operated by Norfolk Southern, is in the train yard located at Angier Avenue and Midway Avenue, according to Kathy Ellis, a Durham emergency dispatch supervisor.
Currently, the Durham fire department, EMS and police are on the scene, Ellis said. A hazardous materials group and Norfolk Southern police are on the way from Greensboro, she said.
Emergency officials received a call this morning at 7:08. Two Norfolk Southern employees had been trying to "couple" two train cars together, according to Durham Fire Department Assistant Chief Dan Curia. There was a misalignment, and one car hit the other, causing them to buckle and crease, he said. That caused the leak.
The car, which can hold up to 16,000 gallons of lye, was on its way to Brenntag, a chemical company in Durham. Officials don't know exactly how much of the chemical is in the car, but said it is leaking an estimated 15 gallons of liquid lye a minute, Curia said. No gas has been released, he said.
The leak is being contained in the rail yard, but a storm drain is located 75 feet away. Officials don't think it will reach the drain, but as a precaution, they are bringing in a sand truck to make a berm and block the liquid, Curia said.
Officials are evacuating buildings within a 150 yards of the area, Ellis said, adding only one home is across from the yard. The emergency command center has also moved back from the area, she said.
Curia did not know how long it would take to clean up the spill, but estimated it would be most of the day.
Sodium hydroxide is used in the manufacture of other chemicals and to produce rayon, paper, etching aluminum, soaps and detergents.
If inhaled, it can cause damage to the upper respiratory tract. If it gets on the skin, it can cause serious burns.
More information about the INC-list