Report delay costs $1,000

Olin Corp. will pay $1,000 in fines for waiting more than four hours to report a Jan. 21 chlorine spill at its facility on Doug Barnard Parkway, according to Georgia's Environmental Protection Division.

Operators at the plant became aware of the spill at 5:30 a.m. that day, but no one contacted EPD's Emergency Operations Center until 9:40 a.m., according to a consent order signed July 17 and posted this week on EPD's Web site.

Georgia law requires "immediate" notification of such spills in case warnings or other emergency actions are needed.

The consent order did not give the amount of chlorine, but said no evacuations were necessary. The spill was caused by ice buildup that caused a 1.5-inch pipe to rupture.

In addition to paying a fine, Olin agreed to devise an employee training plan on notification procedures; and to provide EPD with a written response plan for chemical spills.

According to the National Response Center and Department of Homeland Security database, Olin reported a similar spill May 6 caused by a scrubber malfunction; and a larger spill July 30, 2007, in which enough chlorine was released from a failure of a 150-pound storage cylinder to require evacuations.

Chlorine is heavily regulated and very toxic. In an unrelated 2005 accident, 60 tons of the material were spilled after trains collided in Graniteville, killing nine people and injuring hundreds.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.