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General Chemical Release
September 26, 2002
The city manager was called by Jeff Kanzen, environmental manager for General Chemical at 11:40 a.m. today.  He stated that General Chemical had a chemical release lasting 10 minutes consisting of sulfur trioxide. Sulfur trioxide (also called "sulfuric trioxide") is a colorless liquid that vaporizes at 45 C to form dense white clouds with an irritating effect. It is the oxidized form of the more common sulfur dioxide (SO2) and occurs, for example, in heavily polluted atmospheres. SO3 gas is soluble in water, thereby forming "sulfuric acid" (H2SO 4). For toxicological properties, see http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs117.html.

Because of the winds all of the plumes blew over Chevron property and did not affect any other businesses or Richmond neighborhoods. The county had been alerted that this was a level 2 incident. If the wind had been blowing the other way, it would have been a Level 3 incident, triggering sirens. They entire release lasted 10 minutes (11:21 a.m. to 11:31 a.m.). 

A complete report will be provided to the City Council in their weekend packets.

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