GFFR details hazmat response at Malteurop

Great Falls Fire Rescue was dispatched to a report of a chlorine leak at Malteurop, 2800 Great Bear Ave, on Jan. 11

The facility’s detection system had identified the leak. Malteurop, located in the industrial park north of town that is also home to ADF, has two 150-pound chlorine cylinders on site that are stored in a cabinet outside the main building, according to a GFFR release.

Crews responding to chlorine gas leak at Malteurop

The detection system alerted on a chlorine leak of 10.3 parts per million in the cabinet. According to GFFR, 10 ppm is the immediately dangerous to life and health limit for chlorine.

That risk level required a Level A hazmat response since there were reports that people could also smell chlorine inside the main building.

GFFR hazmat team members performed to industry standards and no injuries were reported. Malteurop maintenance supervisor Parish was a big help with plant logistics and system knowledge. The relationship that was built with this company during inspections, walkthroughs and training opportunities  paid dividends on this event as GFFR personnel and plant management worked together to conduct a safe response that mitigated the problem, eliminated risk to on scene personnel and the public. A faulty chlorine bottle and regulator was suspected to have caused the problem. The actions by on scene staff have helped limit the disruption of the business to continue operations,” according to GFFR Chief Jeremey Jones.

Jones responded on the initial alarm and consulted with the battalion chief.

The platoon on duty that day only had three hazmat team members on duty so GFFR issued a hazmat code red to summon hazmat team technicians to the scene.

Jones said in a release that five off-duty technicians responded to assist.

Piping from the cylinders transports the chlorine into the adjoining building where it is used to remove E.coli and other contaminants from the spring water piped in from Giant Springs. After chlorine is added, the water sits in cisterns for a period of time until it is deemed safe to use for their manufacturing purposes, according to GFFR.

When a chlorine leak is detected an audible and visible alarm is sent out across the complex, according to the GFFR release. A computer message to evacuate is also sent to all staff workstations and when GFFR arrived on scene, all staff had evacuated and were accounted for, according to GFFR.

According to GFFD, the response included:

  • 4 Level A hazmat entries were made to the chlorine storage area and surrounding building
  • 2 chlorine A kits were applied by GFFR technicians to two 150 pound chlorine cylinders
  • 14 GFFR firefighters were on scene, 7 of the 14 were hazmat technicians
  • Units were on scene for approximately 4.5 hours
  • No injuries were reported by responders or plant staff
  • State duty officer was notified, incident was confined to Malteurop property