Bedford Regional Water Authority provides update after hazmat incident at wastewater treatment plant

Two chemicals mixed together creating a chlorine gas, injuring 16 people

Leaders say the Bedford County wastewater treatment plant has returned to its regular operations.

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Leaders say the Bedford County Wastewater Treatment Plant returned to its regular operations, following last week’s hazmat incident.

Megan Pittman, director of administration for the Bedford Regional Water Authority, says crews were at the facility Friday night troubleshooting and cleaning the chemicals – after 16 people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Pittman says about 50 gallons of sodium bisulfite and sodium hypochlorite accidentally mixed together, creating a chlorine gas.

“Because there were two chemicals scheduled for delivery, the first chemical that was being delivered was thought to be the hypochlorite. However, it was not, so the hypochlorite and the sulfite ended up getting mixed into a tank,” said Pittman.

Extra protocols are being put in place at the facility, including more locks and labels on the tanks and better checklists for both employees and delivery drivers.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.