By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — A chemical hazmat leak at the city of Newkirk’s water treatment plant Saturday night, July 11 could have been a threat to portions of the community, but actions taken by the Newkirk Fire Department (NFD) addressed the problem quickly before there were any risks to the community.
The NFD received the call about 9:30 p.m. for a chlorine gas leak at the treatment plant, located on Elm Street. The leak proved to be minor, and was attributed to corroded infrastructure at the facility.
Firefighters met a worker at the plant after an alarm went off.
The leak was attributed to faulty infrastructure.
“We think it was a valve that was part of the safety system,” said Fire Chief Adam Longcrier. “The valve was corroded, and released a lot of pressure, and that caused the alarm to go off.”
The city of Newkirk has water wells along the Arkansas River for consumer use, and the chlorine is used to purify the water. However, chlorine is also dangerous for the community by itself, and leaks may pose a risk to the residents, especially near the water treatment plant. It is one incident NFD firefighters are trained for to protect all in the community.
“We get calls to all kinds of hazards, and this one was a chlorine leak,” Longcrier said. “We get called to anything and everything, and we know how to handle it. Luckily for our safety, and the public’s safety, we were able to take care of the problem, which was very minor.”