Evacuations of residents or workers in cases of incidents of sulphur-handling-related accidents
Ideas on what to do to attract more people that wish to live in Lamont County
The proposed sulphur storage facility envisioned to
be constructed between Bruderheim and Lamont is a bad idea.
Evacuations of residents or workers in cases of incidents of sulphur-handling-related accidents
As of 2005 07 24, a search of the Internet for Sulfur OR Sulphur AND Residents AND evacuated produced a search-return-list with 26,600 entries containing links to stories and articles covering incidents during which residents had to be evacuated.
When the search string was modified to include the term "fire", the search-return-list still contained 23,000 entries.
Do the residents of Lamont County wish to make the news on account of having to be evacuated when an accident happens in connection with the handling, storing or processing of sulphur at the proposed Hazco sulphur storage facility?
Sulphur storage, -processing, -handling and -transportation pose problems and hazards that are often extremely dangerous and harmful to the environment and especially to people. The following is a tabulation of details of some sulphur-related incidents involving evacuation of people.
|Location||Date||Description||Number of people affected||Incident Type|
Kennedy Siding, B.C.,
Canada||1995 12 08
||...application for a permit filed by BC Rail on January 5, 1997, was to
dispose of 2,070 tonnes of sulphur that was the result of a freight train
derailment on December 8, 1995, 5 miles north of Kennedy Siding and 113
miles north of Prince George where twenty-three cars of sulphur
derailed....the sulphur in question was removed and taken to a landfill in
|Western Cape Province, South Africa ||1995 12
16||A massive fire at a sulfur stockpile in the Western Cape Province of South Africa in December 1995 is estimated to have released over 14,000 t of sulfur dioxide
[it requires 5,000 t of sulphur to burn to produce 14,000 t of SO2
gas] over a 20-h period. High and persistent winds [from 28
to 43 kmh] greatly reduced the effectiveness of fire-fighting activities and increased the severity of impacts. Nearby urban and agricultural areas were seriously affected. Thousands of people were evacuated from the nearby town of Macassar located 2.5–4 km downwind, and at least several deaths occurred. |
Update 2003 06 17: Macassar residents compensated after evacuation from toxic cloud — Four hundred and eighty residents of Macassar have received a total of more than R1.3 million in compensation. This comes more than seven years after thousands of Macassar residents were evacuated to escape a toxic cloud after AECI’s sulphur dump in Somerset West, had caught fire. Further claims are reportedly in the pipeline from residents who claim to have suffered medical ailments as a result of the fire. At the weekend, 44 people received compensation from AECI. Each claimant was paid between R2,700 and R3,150. Two men died from asthma attacks on the day the dump caught fire in December 1995.
(More on the causes and consequences
of the Macassar sulphur fire)
15,000||9||Sulphur storage fire|
Conrad, British Columbia, Canada||
1997 03 26||At 0606 Pacific standard
time on 26 March 1997, Canadian National train No. Q-102-51-26 (train
102), travelling from Boston Bar, British Columbia, to Kamloops, British
Columbia, on the Ashcroft Subdivision encountered a large roadbed
depression and derailed at Mile 106.15, near Conrad, British Columbia.
Both crew members were fatally injured.|
The Board determined that an extraordinary volume of surface water
run-off from melting heavy snow cover and high seasonal precipitation
was not captured and carried away as intended by the drainage system
above the adjacent Trans-Canada Highway. The water soaked into the
ground, migrated through the highway fills, and infiltrated and
destabilized the railway subgrade. The railway subgrade could not
sustain the resultant high pore pressure and collapsed. Contributing
factors included the presence of moisture-sensitive alluvial deposits in
the bottom area of the railway subgrade and the overlapping nature of
the highway fills which created a contiguous groundwater flow path into
the railway fills.
...At approximately 0645, a maintenance-of-way employee discovered
the two locomotives and numerous double-stacked container cars from
train 102 at the bottom of a large depression in the railway subgrade at
Mile 106.15. Loaded, open hopper sulphur cars from westward unit sulphur
train R-711-51-22 (train 711), stored on the adjacent siding, were also
observed derailed, in and around the depression. Some of the derailed
sulphur cars had overturned and spilled their contents. Fuel had leaked
from the derailed locomotives and ignited. The resulting fire had
engulfed the derailed equipment and scattered container contents, but
the spilt sulphur was unaffected....
2||Derailment and fire|
|Nikiski, Alaska||1997 09 16||...a Lynden Transport truck traveling on the Sterling Highway transporting two containers of sulfur from the Tesoro Chemical Plant in Nikiski to Homer spilled one of the containers along the bank and into the Ninilchik River at the Ninilchik River Bridge.|
The sulfur spilled down the bank and across the width of the river.
The sulfur also settled a short distance downstream covering small portions of the river bed.
Two small areas of sulfur ignited and burned. Because burning sulfur may produce irritating or toxic sulfur dioxide gases, area residents were evacuated to nearby fair grounds as a safety precaution. The fires have been extinguished, and the residents have returned to their homes.
The product spilled is dried sulfur, a by-product of desulfurization of crude oil at the Tesoro Chemical Plant in Nikiski.
|?||—||—||Transport spill and fire|
|Interstate 26, Polk County, USA ||1998 12 07-09||At the crash site, moisture in the air had reacted with the spilled sodium hydrosulphite creating a fire and causing the emission of sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere. An eight-mile stretch of the highway was closed and approximately 100 residents evacuated from the area due to the spill and subsequent fire.
|~100||—||—||Sodium hydrosulphite spill and fire|
|Contra Costa County, CA, USA||2002 01 31||Contra Costa County Refinery Release Hospitalizes 20 |
A sulfur dioxide, sulfur trioxide, and hydrogen sulfide release from Chevron's Richmond, CA Refinery led to a community shelter in place command throughout the area near the refinery. Around 20 people were treated at area hospitals for complaints attributed to the release, including dizziness and burning eyes and throat. The malfunction of a sulfur removal unit prompted Chevron to report the release at 1:06 p.m., according to a time line released by Chevron. At 1:26 p.m., refinery employees determined the cloud could drift off-site and instructed county officials to activate all of the city's 22 warning sirens, including those in San Pablo.
|Jervis Bay, Australia ||2002 02 03||Seven sailors were hospitalized after being affected by a hydrogen sulphide leak on board the HMAS Melbourne.
|7||7||—||Hydrogen Sulphide Leak|
|Delaware, Louisiana, USA||2002 02 10||More than 1,000 tons of molten sulfur spilled from a storage tank at the General Chemical plant in Delaware, injuring one worker, officials said. General Chemical officials estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 tons of sulfur spilled from the tank, and that 100 to 200 pounds flowed into a cooling water trench leading to the Delaware River. No environmental damage was reported. The spill led to a fire at the tank site the following day morning. Source: CSB CIRC |
1||—||Spill & Fire|
|Chembur, India ||2002 02 11||A major fire broke out in the high chimney of a sulphur removal plant at an electric company.
|Claymont, DE ||2002 02 11||A leak in a 30-year-old tank spilled up to 2,000 tons of molten sulphur, starting a four hour fire. One worker was hurt when he fell and some of the molten sulphur entered his glove.
|Kalgoorlie, Australia ||2002 02 18||A fire broke out in a sulphuric acid plant. No injuries were reported and the nickel smelter was not affected.|
|Paradip, India||2002 03 18||A fire at a chemical plant warehouse storing about 15,000 tons of sulfur caused extensive damage.
|Richmond, CA, USA||2002 05 03||On May 3, 2002, it was reported that five lawsuits have been filed on behalf of some 2,000 Richmond, California residents alleging injuries and lost wages as the result of a chemical release from a General Chemical sulfuric acid recycling facility last year. The residents are also seeking medical expenses and damages for emotional distress. When the release occurred last May, involving 420 pounds of sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide, over 150 people went to local hospitals for treatment for eye and throat irritations and headaches. Associated Press 5/3/02|
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada||
2002 12 04||At 0055 mountain standard time
on 04 December 2002, eastward Canadian Pacific Railway freight train
614-046, proceeding toward Dunmore, Alberta, from Lethbridge, Alberta,
derailed 42 loaded non-pressure tank cars of molten sulphur at Mile 11.8 of
the Taber Subdivision, near Bullshead, [and about 8 miles west of Medicine
Hat,] Alberta. Ten tank cars were breached,
spilling molten sulphur, which caught fire. Approximately 20 people were
evacuated from farms near the accident site as a precaution due to the toxic
nature of the smoke. There were no injuries. [Note: As of today,
some of the
owners of the farms that were evacuated are still trying to receive
compensation for their losses. Except for a case in which a private
settlement took place, not a dime has been received by them so
far, and the site restoration - contracted to HAZCO - is said to be far from
satisfactory. One of the land owners affected stated that HAZCO
abandoned the reclamation effort.] |
Derailment and fire
Near Louviers, Douglas Counties, CO, USA||
2002 12 18||A derelict tanker car that
was being cut up for scrap metal still contained a large amount of
sulfur [still about one-quarter full with an estimated 30 tons of
sulphur] and the cutting torches ignited the material, according to
Andy Lyon, public information officer with South Metro.|
Whenever fire was put out, it reignited.
|Unknown number of people||
Unknown number of people||
|New Orleans, USA||2003 10 24||Officials of the Chevron Oronite Oak Point plant acknowledged a leak of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide Wednesday at 5:10 p.m. after a sulfur recovery unit went down, causing a vent system to overpressurize.|
|Mosul, Iraq||2003 06 25||Firefighters and U.S. Army engineers were close to declaring victory July 8 over a stubborn fire at a sulfur plant near Mosul, Iraq, that has burned since June 25, spewing toxic fumes that killed two residents of nearby villages and forced the evacuation of the surrounding area.|
|unknown||unknown||2||Sulphur storage fire (suspected arson)|
|About 25 villages and the cities of Qayyarah, Al Shurah and Makhmur have been affected by the fumes. |
|Khoransan Province, Iran||2004 02 18||Forty-eight of the cars (17 loaded with sulfur, 6 with gasoline, 7 with fertilizer, and 10 with cotton) derailed, burned and exploded|
Train explosion in Iran
460||328||Derailment, fire and explosion|
|Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada|
(The link to that article no longer functions.
Try another link.)
|2005 02 07||A new air quality report says Irving Oil exceeded the province's air pollution limits 47 times in 2003, but the company only paid a single fine of $C3,000 for allowing excessive discharges of sulphur dioxide. ||unknown||unknown||unknown||Venting|
|Handan, China||2005 05 19||Five persons were killed by hydrogen sulphide at a brewery. Two employees were overwhelmed as they checked equipment at the sewage pool. Four other brewery employees and five fire-fighters went into the facility to rescue the workers, and a total of seven had to be rushed to a hospital. Five of those died.
|Paramount, CA, USA||2005 05 23||A sulphur dioxide release at a refinery sent 19 schoolchildren to hospitals with complaints of respiratory problems and nausea.
|Hornby, Christchurch, NZ||2005 05 26||Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-op. A fire broke out in sulphur at a fertiliser plant.
Fraser Valley B.C., Canada||
2005 08 31||A Canadian National freight
train left the tracks in B.C.’s Fraser Valley Aug. 31. The westbound
train consisting of two locomotives and 97 cars derailed near Cheam
View. The train was loaded with dry sulphur.|
Oklahoma County, US||
2005 11 15||Up to eight cars of
Burlington Northern train derailed in rural part of Oklahoma County,
spilling molten sulphur from one or more cars; area evacuated until
nature of spill was determined.|
Guizhou province's Xifeng county, China||
2007 04 19||
300 Chinese villagers still hospitalized after sulfur dioxide gas cloud from
BEIJING – About 300 villagers remained in the hospital after a huge discharge of
sulfur dioxide gas from a chemical plant in southwestern China, state media said
Fourteen were seriously ill from the leak, which was caused Monday by an
equipment malfunction at the fertilizer plant in Guizhou province's Xifeng
county, the official Xinhua News Agency said....(Full
Story — off-site, related story)
>300||>300 (14 seriously)||
Zama City, Alberta, Canada||
2008 08 15||
A sulphur-block fire at the Apache gas plant 15 km south-west of Zama City was
started by a front-end loader used to break up the sulphur block.|
An evacuation order for the more than 250 residents of Zama City was issued.
The fire was started at 1 p.m., had been "contained around 5:45 p.m. and the
evacuation order was rescinded." (Full
2009 03 21||
Fire at French sulphur-processing facility|
LILLE, France -- Authorities warned some 80,000 people in northern France to
stay home and close their windows and doors for nearly five hours Saturday after
a large cloud of sulphur leaked from a chemicals factory....
...Dozens of rescuers and chemicals teams fanned out near the chemicals factory
in an industrial suburb of Dunkirk where a fire broke out around 5 am.
The alert was called off nearly six hours later. The site converts liquid
sulphur into a solid....(Full
Note by folc.ca: The emission incident happened in Dunkirk and was caused by a
fire at a sulphur processing facility. The fire produced a large volume of
sulphur-dioxide gas. There was no evacuation of people in the vicinity, but
80,000 people were ordered to stay indoors. Eight people breathed in the sulphur
dioxide and required treatment. Two people remained in hospital for observation.
warned to stay
|Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Toxicity Table|
|2||8-hour occupational exposure limit|
|3 - 5||begin to smell gas|
|6 - 50||15-minute occupational exposure limit|
|>100||immediate danger to life, immediate feeling of suffocation|
From Canadian Safety Council, Data Sheet, Occupational Safety and Health and Province of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, Chemical Hazards Regulations
Source: Kick's Emergency Response Plan (a document worth reading to understand what we may and most likely will have to deal with in responding to disasters in relation to the proposed Hazco sulphur storage site in Lamont County)
Keep in mind that all that Hazco
has produced along those lines during its ostensibly project-long public
information process is the following statement in its public relation brochure that was made available for the little-advertised open house they held for County of Lamont Residents earlier in 2005:
"...a facility emergency response plan will be developed in cooperation with local emergency response officials." (* Integrated Industrial Railway Park & Alberta Sulphur Terminals Ltd.; Lamont County 35-055-20 W4M); by Hazco, April 2005)
It is very doubtful that our fire teams will measure up to the task of dealing with such fires. For one thing, it appears that they never yet had to put out a sulphur fire. Aside from that, what will the fire teams do first in the event of such a fire, attempt to put out the fire or attempt to put the residents in the vicinity of the storage site out of harm's way? Where will the evacuated residents spend their days until the fire is out and
until it is safe to move back home to repair the damages?
In the case of the sulphur storage fire in Western Cape Province, South Africa, thousands of people several kilometers away from the fire had to be evacuated. Hundreds of those people required medical treatment.
What is the design for environmental monitoring and early warning facilities and procedures in connection with the Hazco sulphur storage site? Is that finished or is it, too, considered to be a small detail that will be dealt with after the fact?
index page for Hazco sulphur storage site pages
Back to Bruderheim Main Page
Posted July 24, 2005
2007 05 18 (installed link to more information on the massive and very damaging
1995 sulphur fire in Macassar , South Africa)
2009 01 07 (added entry for 2002 Colorado sulphur fire)
2009 03 22 (added reference to fire at Dunkirk