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EL DORADO, Ark. (KTHV) - Phil Retallick, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Clean Harbors Recycling, has announced that the chemical incident at their facility is now over.

Retallick began by thanking all of the agencies involved to bring the chemical cloud under control, including Union County Sheriff's Department, El Dorado Police Department, Union County Emergency Management, El Dorado Fire Department, along with all other first responders.

He also said traffic is now able to move freely.

Earlier Tuesday night, Clean Harbors Recycling released information into what caused the giant cloud looming over El Dorado Tuesday afternoon.

According to Christy L. Gunter with Clean Harbor's Public Relations team, a trailer containing pool chemicals was reported to have a reaction, causing a large cloud to appear over the transportation yard and move north.

Retallick said the trailer where the cloud came from was waiting in the transition yard for its contents to be taken to incineration complex and destroyed.

Clean Harbors, a recycling company that processes hazardous materials for disposal, said the quickly dissipating chemical should not cause any long term effects. The company is doing downwind sampling and air quality testing to ensure safety, added Retallick.

Gunter said the chemical is not a carcinogenetic or a herbicide; it's just a basic residential pool chemical.

Local authorities evacuated the correctional facility, the plant, nearby businesses, and the Union County Sheriff's Department; residents in the area are asked to stay inside. Highway 63 North and Highway 167 traffic was rerouted with the help of Clean Harbors personnel.

No employees of Clean Harbors were harmed during this incident. According to Sheriff Mike McGough, inmates at the Union County Sheriff's Department were transported to another secure facility without incident.

Retallick said exposure to the chemical cloud would cause acute eye, nose, and respiratory irritation but it wouldn't besevere.

Tommy Jackson with the Department of Emergency Management said the chemical scare started at around 4:15 p.m.

(Photo Courtesy: El Dorado News-Times)


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