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RELEASE OF HYDROGEN CHLORIDE

During operations to clear a blockage in a reactor run-off line there was a spill of part of the reactor contents.  The batch contained anhydrous aluminium chloride.   On contact with water in a nearby effluent sump some HCI was released.  The leak was stopped by applying vacuum to the reactor and then re-fitting the blank which had been removed for clearance of the blockage.  The bottom outlet valve (BOV) on the reactor, a 'mushroom' valve, must have been passing although no fault was found subsequently.

Actions to prevent recurrence included:

An alternative to 'mushroom' valves, which will cope with suspended solids in the reactor, is being sought.

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