|Updated: 12/18/2012 10:19 pm
||Published: 12/18/2012 5:42 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR – El Dorado Police say residents are allowed back home after a cloud of chlorinated gas was released from the Clean Harbors plant Tuesday afternoon. The Arkansas Department of Emergency management says 400 to 500 people had to be evacuated.
In a statement, Clean Harbors says around 4pm Tuesday a trailer containing pool chemicals underwent a reaction that created the large cloud of gas that drifted northward from the plant. Tommy Jackson, with ADEM, says the evacuation area extended 5 miles north of the plant. The Union County jail also had to be evacuated because of the cloud.
The chemical reaction was controlled by Safe Harbor after 9pm. The trailer, as well as air quality in the surrounding area, will continue to be monitored by the company. Clean Harbors says the chlorinated chemical is not a carcinogen nor is it an herbicide.
Additionally, Clean Harbors says their experience with the chemicals involved is that they will quickly dissipate and not cause any long-term damage to the environment.
There were not injuries reported in the incident.
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department closed Hwy 63 from Hwy 82 to Champagnoll Road is closed, as well as Hwy 197 from where 7 and 167 meet the northeast side of El Dorado to Hwy 82, during the evacuation.
The Clean Harbors website says the facility in El Dorado, located at 309 American Circle, is an incinerator that treats hazardous and non-hazardous wastes by high temperature incineration.