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Minor ammonia leak contained at plant

POSTED: May 29, 2013 12:30 a.m.
 

A minor ammonia leak Monday at a poultry plant in downtown Cumming was contained and cleaned up quickly, according to authorities.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said less than 100 gallons of anhydrous ammonia reportedly leaked from the Tyson Foods plant into a containment wall about 5 p.m.

According to a statement from Tyson, the plant was not in operation at the time, however, scheduled maintenance was under way. 

One of three people in the plant was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth as a precautionary measure, but has since been released.

Shivers noted that exposure can lead to chemical burning of the skin or eyes. Since the plant had minimal staffing due to the Memorial Day holiday, however, there was little exposure to employees.

“When we arrived on scene, the leak was stopped within minutes after our arrival through the use of a safety valve,” he said.

“That plant has numerous redundancies in safety systems. The valve was utilized to stop that leak, and then we simply diluted the product down with water, which is how it evaporates all safely.”

A mechanical failure was the cause of the leak, Shivers said. Tyson’s safety team was repairing that issue when the firefighters left.

According to Tyson, the valve involved was closed and the plant was expected to operate as usual Tuesday.

No neighboring residents or businesses had to evacuate due to the incident, Shivers said.

 

Staff writer Crystal Ledford contributed to this report.

 

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