Process Safety Beacon: Wrong Hose Causes Ammonia Leak

November
,
2015

One morning in July 2009, at a plant in South Carolina, a truck of anhydrous ammonia was unloaded into a storage tank using a hose stored on the truck trailer. Shortly after the transfer started, the unloading hose ruptured and released a cloud of toxic ammonia gas. The cloud traveled across a nearby highway and into a wooded area, where it dissipated.

A motorist drove through the cloud of ammonia and off the road, where she exited the car and subsequently died from ammonia exposure. Fourteen people reported medical problems; seven were hospitalized for respiratory symptoms and released the same day. Residents in the area were forced to shelter in place, and the highway was closed for several hours. Approximately 7,000 lb of ammonia was released.

 

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