Aluminium chloride leak at TN chemical factory triggers panic

Aluminium chloride leak at TN chemical factory triggers panic

Chennai, Nov 24 (PTI) A massive leak at a chemical factory in Tamil Nadu's Ranipet which resulted in toxic fumes spreading around, triggered panic in the area on Friday, a senior fire department official said. There were however no casualties. The watchman at the private chemical manufacturer and supplier fainted inhaling the fumes and he was rushed to a hospital.

His condition is stable, the official said. A few workers at the factory were also rescued.

'A huge storage container holding 30 KL of aluminium chloride burst at the bottom while the workers were handling it and the acid rapidly spread around,' said Ranipet district Assistant Fire Officer B Thirumurugan.

About 15 personnel of the fire and rescue services department under the Ranipet district fire officer S Lakshminarayanan and Thirumurugan, battled with the acid for nearly two-and-a-half hours and finally managed to contain its spread.

Polyaluminium chloride is used in effluent treatment plants (ETP) as a coagulant and pulp and paper industry as a sizing agent.

The private factory located on the Musiri Road in Ranipet manufactures and supplies non-ferric alum cake, poly aluminium chloride liquid, and non-ferric alum powder.

'We can't spray water to contain its spread, as it is ineffective. So, we had to use lime and sand to prevent it from advancing,' he told PTI and added that inhaling the fumes would cause suffocation, allergy or eye irritation.

Officials from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and an NDRF team from Arakkonam visited the factory at Thenkadapanthangal village, Walajapet taluk, Ranipet, for an on-the-spot assessment. PTI JSP ROH

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