EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - A Muskegon County company is defending its decision not to tell the public about a chemical release on Monday.
A spokesperson for Sun Chemical on Evanston Road says 1,400 pounds of anhydrous ammonia were released after an equipment malfunction. The problem happened over a six hour period and they would have called 911 immediately if there was a threat to the public.
State regulations require companies to alert emergency officials within 15 minutes of a leak being detected. The Muskegon Chronicle is reporting the company did not alert authorities until the next day.
Sun Chemical has had incidents before. In June 2006, a mechanical error caused the release of nitric oxide. A similar incident happened in 2001.
Below is a statement released Friday by Sun Chemical:
Employee and community safety is and always has been Sun Chemical's most important concern, and we do that through ongoing training of our employees and our internal emergency response team.
The ammonia leak incident in our Muskegon facility was handled appropriately in every way except for a failure to notify the appropriate authorities within the 15 minutes as required by law. The EHS support in our Muskegon facility was in transition over the last three weeks and this fostered a misunderstanding on the reporting requirements. As part of our ongoing training at this site, we will put particular emphasis on our reporting obligations so that this mistake is not repeated again.
We are also cooperating and working closely with all local emergency response teams and regulators. Never at any time throughout the incident was any employee or the community at risk.