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Washington Twp. adding up cost of chemical spill

July 01, 2010|By DANA BROWN

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Washington Township Supervisors are still adding up the costs of the hazardous chemical spill that happened earlier this month at the Washington Township Transfer Station off of Pa. 16 in the Beartown, Pa. area.

The transfer station was shut down June 22 when nine employees in the recycling center portion of the facility were exposed to a blue chemicial -- Pylam Turquoise LX 6060 -- that leaked from nonresidential containers which had arrived in the mix of routine recycling from Chambersburg Waste Paper.

All nine employees were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries and released. The chemical can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Hazmat teams responded to the incident.

"We are gathering our costs," township manager Mike Christopher said.

Christopher said that all expenses associated with the incident will be forwarded to the claims adjuster, GAB Robins of Camp Hill, Pa., which is reviewing incident-related claims for the township's insurer, EMC Insurance Companies of Pottstown, Pa.

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The total cost of the incident includes the expense of cleanup at the facility, proper disposal of 800 gallons of the chemical and an estimated $1,200 to $1,500 in revenue lost by the recycling center during for the days it was shut down.

Medical expenses for employees effected by the chemical spill are being forwarded to the township's insurer, Christopher said.

In addition, the employees will be reimbursed for all clothing items they were wearing at the time of the spill and which had to be destroyed later.

The township supervisors approved moving forward with payment to the employees for lost wages due to the closing of the center.

Christopher commended the recycling center staff for "responding in a professional" manner to the incident.

"They didn't panic," he said.

Supervisor Elaine Gladhill in turn gave Christopher a pat on the back for his handling of the incident.

"I just want to thank you," Gladhill said.

"Great job, Mike," supervisor John Gorman added.

Christopher said the incident was one of the toughest he has faced in his career.

"It was a rough one," he said. "That was some scary stuff."

In other business, the supervisors rejected, for the second time, a lease proposal from Liberty Towers of Rockville, Md. for a parcel of land just west of the transfer station on which Liberty proposed building a 180-foot cellular phone tower.

Liberty's proposed lease offered to pay the townhip $750 per month, according to township documents.

Christopher said the supervisors were not interested in proceeding with Liberty's proposal at this time but will entertain future offers.

"If they have a another offer we will listen," he said.

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