Kansas companies fined $1 million each after releasing cloud of chlorine over Atchison

10 miles West of Atchison (Courtesy: Jon Hall)
10 miles West of Atchison (Courtesy: Jon Hall)(WIBW)
Published: May. 27, 2020 at 5:04 PM CDT
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Hacros Chemicals, Inc., and MGP Ingredients, Inc., were fined for $1 million each for violating the Clean Air Act in Atchison in 2016.

The companies released a cloud of toxic chlorine gas over the city says U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister. Both companies have paid the fine.

Both companies plead guilty to negligently violating the Clean Air Act, a Class A misdemeanor. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree sentenced the companies during a hearing in Topeka today, Wednesday, May 27.

The companies admitted to releasing a greenish-yellow chlorine gas cloud formed at MGP Ingredients’ Atchison facility. This happened when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were accidentally combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite.

Atchison County Department of Emergency Management ordered all community members to lock down at home, and even evacuated some areas, during the incident.

About 140 people, including employees of each company, sought medical attention due to the incident.

“The chemicals involved in this case posed serious public health and environmental dangers,” says Assistant Special Agent in Charge Cate Holston of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas. “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put an entire community at risk.”

McAllister congratulated the EPA and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rich Hathaway for their work on this case.

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