BLP investigation continues

An outside company has been hired to evaluate and fix the cause of Sunday's chlorine leak at the municipal power plant on Harbor Island.
Becky Vargo
Oct 29, 2013


In addition, safety procedures will be reviewed in connection with an employee inhaling chlorine at the plant on Monday.

Grand Haven Board of Light & Power spokeswoman Renee Molyneux said an injector at the plant failed, causing a diaphragm (valve) to fail, which caused the leak early Sunday morning.

An alarm sounded when the small leak occurred, she said. The two employees who responded to the alarm at the power plant's chlorine building found the fumes too strong to enter. They were treated by paramedics at the scene and released.

An automatic shutoff initiated when the alarm sounded on Sunday, so the leak was contained and there was no danger to anyone on the site or the public, Molyneux said.

BLP workers fixed the valve, she said. R.S. Technical Services of Lowell will fix the injector for about $1,500.

BLP Operation Supervisor John Harloff was hospitalized after a separate incident on Monday after he took another employee into the chlorine building to train him on what happened on Sunday and how to deal with it.

Molyneux said the men were not planning to do any other work, but Harloff noticed water in a line and decided to "bleed it off." That’s when a puff of chlorine gas was released into his face, she said.

“That’s when he made a poor judgment call,” Molyneux said. “He should have been wearing a respirator.”

Harloff was expected to be released from North Ottawa Community Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, Molyneux said.

Molyneux said she will be posting a list of proper procedures at the chlorine building.

“We are addressing the personal protection equipment issue,” she said.



Tri-cities realist

So know we know the real root cause of the issue: poor management from the top down. If the Operation Supervisor doesn't follow PPE procedures, is it a surprise when the other employees don't? The ambulance and hospitalization could have been avoided.


That MAY explain the "unusual" smell we've experienced, on and off (depending on the wind) over the last several months, just north of the plant in the Ferrysburg/Spring Lake Twp/South Holiday Hills area!? I'm just sayin'


Whatever the smell you've been getting there is, thankfully it's definitely not chlorine gas. If it was strong enough for you to smell then your eyes and throat would become irritated at the least. It's bad stuff.


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