The Maryland Department of the Environment today was investigating a chemical overflow from a waste-water storage tank in Anne Arundel County containing traces of triethyl amine, a chemical used in the making of pharmaceuticals.
The spill last night caused several residents of a Ferndale neighborhood to experience mild throat irritation and headaches, said a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
None of those affected by the fumes that wafted through the Arundel Gardens development required medical treatment.
Fire Capt. Gary Sheckells said one of six 30,000-gallon waste-water tanks at Kanasco Ltd., in the 6100 block of Robinwood Road, overflowed shortly after 9 p.m. and caused an unknown number of people living near the chemical plant to complain of irritated throats and mild headaches.
Today a spokesman from the Department of the Environment said that "thermal expansion" occurred in yesterday's hot weather after the company over-filled the waste-water tank.
Consequently, said spokesman Michael Sullivan, some of the diluted chemical flowed over into a dike.
An official from the environment department visited the site late last night and ordered the company to wash off the tank and pump the chemical into another tank, said Sullivan.
Sullivan said the chemical readings at the tank were low enough "not to expect any significant health hazards."
He said the accident is nevertheless under investigation.
Shortly after the spill, Sheckells said fire apparatus and at least one ambulance were dispatched to the scene but that the fumes soon dissipated.
It was not immediately known how many gallons of the chemical-tainted water spilled.
Kanasco has been cited several times previously by state and county officials for improperly disposing of toxic chemicals.