Tag Archives: emergency response

Hospitalization after a chemical spill, West Virginia, 2014

Hsu J, Del Rosario MC, Thomasson E, Bixler D, Haddy L, Duncan MA. Hospital Impact After a Chemical Spill That Compromised the Potable Water Supply: West Virginia, January 2014. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness. 2017 Mar 6:1-4. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2016.193.

In January 2014, a chemical spill of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol and propylene glycol phenyl ethers contaminated the potable water supply of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents. To understand the spill’s impact on hospital operations, we surveyed representatives from 10 hospitals in the affected area during January 2014. We found that the spill-related loss of potable water affected many aspects of hospital patient care (eg, surgery, endoscopy, hemodialysis, and infection control of Clostridium difficile). Hospital emergency preparedness planning could be enhanced by specifying alternative sources of potable water sufficient for hemodialysis, C. difficile infection control, and hospital processing and cleaning needs (in addition to drinking water).

What Happens When Government Dogmatically Controls Science; Bureaucrats Make Innocent People Suffer

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making it tougher for governors to deny man-made climate change. Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.” here for more

Accidental Contamination of Drinking Water with Sodium Hydroxide

Luba Lendowski, , Harald Färber, Andreas Holy, Anke Darius, Bernd Ehrich, Christine Wippermann, Bernd Küfner, Martin Exner. Accidental contamination of a German town’s drinking water with sodium hydroxide. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2015.01.006

Case report of a very serious drinking water incident putting up to 50,000 inhabitants of a town near Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany at risk. A concentrated solution of highly alkaline water by sodium hydroxide was accidentally washed into the town’s drinking water at a pumping station and increased the pH-value of the water to 12. Residents who came into contact with the contaminated water immediately had a toxic reaction. The incident was detected by complaints from customers and after that was stopped within several hours. The pipes were flushed and the customers were warned not to use the water till the all clear. After this immediate management there was an investigation and the cause of the incident was detected as an accidental release of accumulated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution. The lack of a network alarm system and the automatic cut-off mechanisms as deficiencies in the design of the station were rectified by the water company immediately after the incident.

Paper is here (fee).

Sinkhole Threatens to Swallow Washington, DC

“A huge sinkhole that nearly swallowed a truck appeared in the streets of northeastern Washington D.C. in the late afternoon on Tuesday. D.C. Water spokesman reported that the sinkhole that—nearly as large as both lanes of the road on 13th Place NE near Farragut Place and Faraday Place—was caused by a water main break that undermined the integrity of the ground underneath the road.” click here

Household Bleach for Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water

Elmaksoud SA, Patel N, Maxwell SL, Sifuentes LY, Gerba CP. Use of household bleach for emergency disinfection of drinking water. Journal of Environmental Health. 2014 May;76(9):22-5.

Household bleach is typically used as a disinfectant for water in times of emergencies and by those engaging in recreational activities such as camping or rafting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a concentration of free chlorine of 1 mg/L for 30 minutes, or about 0.75 mL (1/8 teaspoon) of household bleach per gallon of water. The goal of the study described in this article was to assess two household bleach products to kill waterborne bacteria and viruses using the test procedures in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Purifiers. Bleach was found to meet these requirements in waters of low turbidity and organic matter. While the test bacterium was reduced by six logs in high turbid and organic-laden waters, the test viruses were reduced only by one-half to one log. In such waters greater chlorine doses or contact times are needed to achieve greater reduction of viruses.

Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme begins manufacturing in Singapore

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has opened a manufacturing plant in Singapore for its Pur sachet in order to react quickly to disaster-prone nations in the region. Each four-gram sachet can turn 10 litres of dirty water into clean drinking water. The two primary components are ferric sulfate, a well-known and widely-used coagulant, and calcium hypochlorite, a disinfectant.

Click here for the news article.

Emergency water technology options….

Loo, SL, Fane, AG, Krantz, WB, Lim, TT. Emergency water supply: A review of potential technologies and selection criteria. Water Research. 2012 Apr 3. 

Source: Elsevier

Abstract: Access to safe drinking water is one of the first priorities following a disaster. However, providing drinking water to the affected population (AP) is challenging due to severe contamination and lack of access to infrastructure. An onsite treatment system for the AP is a more sustainable solution than transporting bottled water. Emergency water technologies (WTs) that are modular, mobile or portable are suitable for emergency relief. This paper reviews WTs including membrane technologies that are suitable for use in emergencies. Physical, chemical, thermal- and light-based treatment methods, and membrane technologies driven by different driving forces such as pressure, temperature and osmotic gradients are reviewed. Each WT is evaluated by ten mutually independent criteria: costs, ease of deployment, ease of use, maintenance, performance, potential acceptance, energy requirements, supply chain requirements, throughput and environmental impact. A scoring system based on these criteria is presented. A methodology for emergency WT selection based on compensatory multi-criteria analysis is developed and discussed. Finally, critical research needs are identified.

Click here for full paper (fee).