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Sanitizer with acid dumped in sanitary sewer

July 28, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

Several gallons of sanitizer containing acid were accidentally dumped Wednesday into the sanitary sewer from Western Maryland Hospital Center in north Hagerstown, Hagerstown Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard T. Hopkins said.

The product, LpH se, an aqueous acid phenolic detergent, had expired and when someone was attempting to dispose of it by diluting it in a drain, the drain backed up and it came out in an area on the first floor of the hospital, creating a "nuisance odor," he said.

The call for the spill was received by Washington County Emergency Services at 11:30 a.m. and the last unit was cleared from the scene at 3:41 p.m., an Emergency Services dispatcher said.

Hopkins said the Hagerstown Fire Department, the county Special Operations Team and Community Rescue Service responded to the call.

"We flushed what was in the room down the drain. Most of it did remain in the sanitary sewer," Hopkins said. Some of the detergent flowed into Hamilton Run, which eventually flows into Antietam Creek, he said.

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"There was a little bit of foaming, but it wasn't harming anything, as far as we could see," he said.

No one was injured in the spill, he said, and fans helped ventilate the area where the spill occurred.

The spill occurred in the maintenance area of the hospital close to the boiler room, said N. Linn Hendershot, hospital spokesman.

"Everybody was kept out of harm's way," he said.

Hendershot said fire crews "did a tremendous job."

Western Maryland Hospital Center is a long-term, chronic-care hospital that has been in existence since 1957, he said.

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