HEPACO / Categories: Case Studies


Cincinnati, Ohio

HEPACO was requested to respond to a large chemical release in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The cause of the release was due to a 300’ long and 20’ tall row of pallet racking which contained over 500 different chemicals (some which were incompatible materials).  Upon the collapse, all chemicals stored on the racking system fell to ground causing a massive release of acids, bases, flammables and organic chemicals.

The initial response was focused on containing the spill to the Property in an effort to protect the adjoining businesses, human health and ensure the release did not affect the environment.  Once containment was in place, the response team worked with OEPA to set up an ICP.  Response Plans, Waste Management Plans, Air Monitoring Plans and Work Plans were developed and then implemented by the responding teams

Several subcontractors were brought in to assist with this very large spill as the crews worked around the clock for almost a month to get the facility back in to operations.  The initial response/investigation was completed in Level A and the majority of the clean-up work was completed in Level B or Level C.  Over 30 peopled worked on each shift (12 hours per day) performing various tasks.  Some of those tasks include:

  • Containment Installation
  • Encapsulation of the area using poly sheeting
  • Neutralization of chemicals
  • Palletizing of chemicals for proper shipping
  • Waste Management
  • Containerizing of chemicals
  • Segregation of waster vs chemicals that could be recycled
  • Demolition of the pallet racking and affected walls and floors
  • 24-hour air monitoring
  • Fire watch
  • Decontamination of workers

Due to the nature of the collapse, chemicals were piled on top of one another for days (and in some cased weeks) before we could safely get to each of the leaking containers.  Simply moving a container would cause another release, thus causing mixing of chemicals which would cause another reaction.  During the course of the project, the crews experienced over 50 off-gassing events due to chemicals mixing during the clean-up.

The crews also had to deal with 2 fires during the project (also caused by unknown chemicals mixing together during the process).

Over 600 drums, 40 totes, 20 roll-off boxes and 80 over packs were shipped off for hazardous and non-hazardous disposal.

EMS/HEPACO and our subcontractors worked over 40,000 manhours on this project without an incident.