Harmless Kanasco Chemical Leak Frightens Glen Burnie Community

April 09, 1991|By Staff report

GLEN BURNIE — residents who live near a pharmaceutical plant were frightened Sunday by an odor drifting into their community that reminded them of a 1988 leak that sent seven people to the hospital.

This time, however, the fumes turned out to be harmless.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gary Sheckells said waste water stored in a 30,000 gallon tanks outside Kanasco Ltd., in the 1600 block of Robinwood Road in Glen Burnie, leaked into a drainage dyke sometime Sunday evening.

"It was not a large volume, only enough to wetthe pavement," he said. "There was not a standing pool."

A non-toxic chemical in the water gave off an odor that drifted into the neighboring communities, and people began calling the Fire Department at about 9 p.m.

Several residents on Carefree Road and Holy Cross Road near the plant reported a chemical odor with a chlorine or bleach-like smell. Some said they had mild throat irritation, slight headaches and nausea, Sheckells said.

No one was hospitalized.

An initial check of the area turned up nothing, but at about 12:30 a.m., the state Department of Environment found the leak.

Sheckells said thewaste water in the tank began to expand because of Sunday's high temperatures, causing the leak.

In 1988, toxic fumes from the plant filtered up through leaky plumbing, sending some residents to the hospital and forcing residents in about 25 homes on Locust Drive and Cedar and Cherry avenues to be evacuated.

Those hospitalized had symptoms similar to those of carbon monoxide poisoning and had lapsed intounconsciousness.

The plant has a history of dumping violations dating back to 1974.

Kanasco was cited in March 1974 by the county Department of Public Works for discharging harmful organic solvents into the system.

In December 1982, the state Health Department levied a $7,500 civil penalty against the company for illegally disposing of methylene chloride in a storm drain and a sewer on eight occasionssince 1981.

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