By Matt Anderson
DALTON, Ga. An investigation by the U.S. Chemical and Hazard Investigation Board found that a 2004 chemical spill was avoidable, according to a report released at a news conference today.
The report placed most of the blame on MFG Chemical Inc., the source of the spill, stating that the company had no emergency dilution system and no system to neutralize a toxic chemical release.
But the report also states that neither Dalton nor Whitfield County had equipped emergency personnel with protective equipment or air monitoring devices.
Officials in Dalton took issue with the inclusion of the citys police and fire response as a contributing cause to the scope of the incident. City Administrator Butch Sanders said the city had done everything it could have done to prepare.
Money was approved last year for an emergency notification system that would automatically notify residents by phone of any emergencies, according to Dalton Police Lt. Jason Parker. That system could be operational by June, he said.
The spill and resulting vapor cloud release resulted in a 7-mile fish kill, forced evacuation of hundreds of homes and businesses and hospital treatment of 154 people.
E-mail Matt Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
See tomorrows Chattanooga Times Free Press for full coverage.