DEP responds to city chemical spill

By DANIELLE DROLET Gazette Staff Writer

03/08/2005

TAUNTON - Harodite Industries, Inc. officials alerted the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) yesterday morning of a sodium hydroxide spill caused by an overflow of one of its tanks near the Three Mile River.

The sodium hydroxide spill originated last Wednesday after a "supplier inadvertently pumped sodium hydroxide into the wrong tank," said Harodite Industries Chief Operating Officer Aaron M. Albert.

 

DEP Spokesman Ed Coletta estimated the spill of sodium hydroxide to be least 700 gallons.

The minor chemical spill was caused by an overflow of a tank into the land near Cooper Street and into the soil and the Three Mile River, said Coletta. "Not around people or businesses," he said.

Albert said the tank that caused the overflow is intended to hold 1,300 gallons of sodium silicate. But 2,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide was pumped in instead.

Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive substance that can potentially cause burns, Albert said.

"We insist that our workers wears gloves, an apron and a face mask when working with it," he said.

Coletta said it could also cause problems if it gets into the throat or eyes.

Albert said in addition to the DEP, Clean Harbors, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Taunton Fire Department and the Dighton Fire Department were called to the scene.

Coletta said they hired Clean Harbors to do testing on the river. He said sodium hydroxide does "dissipate" in water and should not be a problem for the river.

Albert said it could take two business days to clean up the spill.

Harodite Industries, Inc., located on 66 South St., provides custom finishing, coating, laminating, sheeting and cutting of woven and non-woven textiles.

In May 2002, another spill occurred from a Harodite tank. Approximately 2,300 gallons of oil leaked from out of a blown gasket on pipes between a boiler and tank in the boiler room into the Three Mile River.


ŠThe Taunton Gazette 2005