A massive chlorine leak in Pueblo on Sunday night released more than 1,300 lbs of the toxic gas into the air. According to Pueblo Water Works that number is greater than was initially thought.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the cause was mechanical failure in a coupling.
The tanks were shutdown and the leak stopped by around 11:00 pm, about an hour and a half after the initial alarms sounded indicating a problem at the plant.
Executive Director Alan Hamel reports that this was the largest incident of this type in the 46 years he has been with the Board.
Although Pueblo Police were prepared to evacuate nearby residential areas, no evacuation was necessary, because a shift in the wind pushed the gas toward an unpopulated area. No one was injured by the release.
According to PWW treatment plant operation and the quality of water in the city's distribution system were monitored continuously throughout the event, and there was no disruption of service to Pueblo water customers.
A total evaluation of the incident will be completed within 48 hours and submitted to both the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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