2 Kansas companies fined $1M each for releasing chlorine gas over Atchison

Major chemical spill reported in Atchison, KS
Posted at 5:35 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 18:35:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two companies have paid a $1 million fine each in response to the cloud of chlorine gas that was released in October 2016 over Atchison, Kansas.

Nearly 140 residents and first responders required medical treatment along with workers at the MGP Ingredients facility after “4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite” to release the toxic cloud, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister announced that MGP Ingredients and Hacros Chemicals, which were sentenced Wednesday in Topeka after pleading guilty to “negligently violating the Clean Air Act, had paid the fines as part of the punishment for the Class A misdemeanor.

Hacros is headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas.

“The chemicals involved in this case posed serious public health and environmental dangers,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Cate Holston of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas. “EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for actions that put an entire community at risk.”

The Oct. 21, 2016, incident prompted a shelter-in-place order from the Atchison County Department of Emergency Management.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the fine for MGP Ingredients in November.