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Vapor leak delays traffic

By Staff | Jun 22, 2011

A chemical leak at a manufacturing facility on Sunday afternoon shut down a portion of W.Va. 2 in Sistersville as on-site crews worked to control it.

According to John Scharf, company spokesman, at about 2 p.m., a facility at Momentive Performance Materials experienced a release of trichlorosilane, a combination of hydrochloric acid and silicon powder.

Scharf stated the vapors were suppressed by 3 p.m. and there was no environmental impact or injuries as a result. The company’s on-site “Emergency Response Brigade” responded immediately and applied a foam blanket to suppress the vapors.

In addition, MPM reported the situation to the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Tyler County Office of Emergency Services.

“I just heard from the (West Virginia) Department of Homeland Security and the DEP and they said the company is handling (the leak) very well and the reported it properly,” said Tom Cooper, director of the Tyler OES. “(MPM is) a good company and they took care of it correctly.”

“The company has initiated a full investigation as to the cause of this incident and the affected unit will remain shut down until permanent corrective actions have taken place and the cause of the incident has been determined,” Scharf stated.

Cooper said trichlorosilane carries the same dangers as hydrochloric acid if exposed to humans. Both the vapors and the liquid have a corrosive effect on the body with the potential to harm respiratory organs, eyes, skin and intestines