Valve malfunction causes oxygen leak |

Valve malfunction causes oxygen leak

The Tahoe Truckee Sanitation Agency evacuated its plant Friday afternoon when a valve malfunctioned, leaking liquid oxygen from an 11,000 gallon tank.

The plant received a truckload of liquid oxygen Friday and, when the truck driver unloaded the liquid oxygen into the fill line, he noticed a leak, said TTSA General Manager Craig Woods. The fill valve had malfunctioned and could not be fully closed, causing the leak.

There were approximately 30 personnel on the scene from Truckee Fire and Protection District, North Tahoe Fire, Donner Summit Fire Department, Northstar Fire Department, Squaw Valley Fire Department and Placer County Environmental Health, said Judy Mohr, of the TFPD.

One hundred thousand pounds of liquid oxygen leaked from the tank onto the concrete floor, said Mohr.

The hazards were static electricity or combustion with another fuel, which could have caused a fire. The power was turned off in the plant and personnel were advised not to scuff feet on the concrete to avoid static electricity. Because two types of fuel tanks were located below the spill, TFPD and SVFD had to shuttle water to the site via a tanker, and personnel flowed the water moving the liquid oxygen away from the fuel tanks, said Mohr.

The TFPD monitored the tank while it drained, taking approximately five hours, said Woods.

No one was injured or exposed to the product, according to the TFPD report. Once the tank was drained, the plant was turned back over to TTSA personnel and reopened the next day.

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