CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- DuPont said about 20 pounds of ammonia apparently leaked from the top of the ammonia tank at its Belle plant early this morning.
The plant sounded the fume alert at 2:36 a.m. "after a remote sensor detected a small leak from a vent on top of the ammonia tank," DuPont said in a prepared statement. "The plant emergency response team responded and closed the valve from the tank leading to the vent.
"No one was injured during the incident," the company said. "The Belle Fire Department responded to the plant gate as a precaution per our normal joint protocol. The all clear was sounded at 3:12 a.m.
"We have not detected any ammonia odors at ground level on site nor are we aware of any reported odors offsite," the company said. "Our initial calculations indicate that the quantity released was approximately 20 pounds, which is below the reportable threshold quantity.
"We are continuing our investigation to finalize our calculations on the quantity released and determine the cause of the leak," DuPont said. "All appropriate government agencies have been notified."
According to DuPont's material safety data sheet for ammonia, the chemical causes skin and eye burns and nose, throat and lung irritation. Gross overexposure may be fatal.