Burned chemical to be put to use

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 1, 2009

NATCHEZ — One day after a chemical fire at the Boulva Tech Riverside warehouse, the burned chemical has been collected and sent to a local company for processing.

American Environmental Services owner Bobby Cauthen cleaned the mess and said none of the chemical had to be sent to a landfill.

“We cleaned every bit of it up and it was hauled to (Mississippi River Corporation),” Cauthen said.

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The chemical, formamidine sulfinic acid, is not owned by MRC, as previously reported, but stored at the warehouse until it’s purchased by the company.

The chemical is used to break apart dye molecules on paper, before the paper is turned into pulp and made into recycled paper products.

Mississippi River Corporation CEO Edward Logan said he was pleased the chemicals would not be headed to a landfill.

Logan said the chemicals, with a value of up to $60,000, can still be used despite the fire.

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Emergency Service Division environmental scientist Shannon Lowery said had the product not been able to be recycled the chemical’s owners would have had to follow strict protocol to properly dispose of the chemicals.

“You can’t just throw it out in a landfill,” Lowery said.

Lowery said the location of the burning chemicals was actually beneficial for those responding to the fire.

Lowery said the ammonia, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide given off by the burning chemicals can be fatal if they’re concentrated in a small space.

It was fortunate the fire was in a spacious warehouse, Lowery said.