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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Aug. 26, 1981 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 8/21/19

Mayor Reid upset, vegetation burnt after chlorine leak

Middletown police and emergency volunteers acted last Thursday when a leak of chlorine gas was reported at the Manley-Regan Chemical Co. …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Aug. 26, 1981 edition of the Press & Journal


Mayor Reid upset, vegetation burnt after chlorine leak

Middletown police and emergency volunteers acted last Thursday when a leak of chlorine gas was reported at the Manley-Regan Chemical Co.

According to borough officials, area residents notified them of smelling chlorine fumes around their homes near the East End warehouse complex at 532 E. Emaus St., Middletown, where the Manley-Regan Chemical Co. is located.

D. Lee Manley, general manager of Manley-Regan, explained that a pipe leading from the chlorine tank filling area broke, allowing chlorine to escape. He estimated that about 10 pounds of chlorine gas were released before a worker noticed the smell and tracked down the leak. Mr. Manley described the amount as very small, about 10 percent of a 6-foot, 150-pound gas cylinder.

“We were especially unlucky with this happening so soon after the July 12 acid leak,” Manley said. “We have been here since 1963 and have had very few problems.”

Manley explained that Manley-Regan, a United Chemical subsidiary, is concerned about its public image.

“We have been inspected by a considerable number of agencies from DER to OSHA,” Manley said. “The only suggestion we have gotten recently was to have a written safety checklist that we follow during our weekly teardown and safety checkup.”

Middletown Mayor Robert Reid was concerned that he was not notified by the company. In both instances, Reid complained that a private citizen notified the borough.

Reid said that he is working to see if there is some way a borough ordinance could be drawn up to require companies within the borough to report hazardous substance accidents.

Mr. Manley, in a separate interview, explained that accidents that the plant manager or foreman feel could pose a public health problem would be reported but he felt these two incidents were not that serious.

Acting on reports from area residents, Robert Culp, supervisor for the Bureau of Air Quality Control for the Department of Environmental Resources, went to investigate local plant damage.

Mr. Culp explained that during his inspection he was joined with Barry Towers of the Bureau of Forestry and together they concluded that chlorine could be the cause for local plant damage. He added that in their opinion most of the damage is not fatal to the plants but merely superficial. Some plants were affected and some were not, he reported.

During his initial site inspection, no damage was apparent. But it takes one to two days to show these symptoms, he said.

The pair spotted milder damage as far as Behney Motors at Emaus and Race streets.

Culp estimated that concentrations 100 times greater would be needed before there would be damage to humans.

The chlorine that Manley-Regan packages comes in by railcar and is then placed into 150-pound or one-ton cylinders. The company supplies chlorine for about 90 percent of the municipalities within a 75-square-mile area.

The chlorine gas is used to treat drinking, waste and swimming pool water.

Numbers, power and enthusiasm: Blue Raider football power is on

It should be a very good year for the Middletown Blue Raiders football team under rookie coach Larry Donovan.

All the ingredients are there for an explosive and memorable year of Blue Raider football.

Item one: Some 51 youngsters will be wearing the blue and gold for the upcoming gridiron season in M-town. That is a significant improvement over the previous years’ rosters where breaking 30 was an accomplishment.

Item two: This is Donovan’s first year at the helm at Middletown, and he is fresh with ideas and enthusiasm for the position and its capabilities.

Item three: The Blue Raider coaches sense a new attitude of pride and discipline among the young, though mostly inexperienced, athletes. Workouts are tough but the young men are enthusiastic about the results down the road and eager to learn about paying the dues to make things jell on the football field.

With only nine returning lettermen, Donovan will be facing the task of turning 42 relatively green young athletes into a unit that will have to deal with the likes of Milton Hershey, Cumberland Valley and Lower Dauphin in upcoming Capital Area Conference action.

“Of our returning lettermen, five are seniors and four are juniors, but the men under them are learning fast,” Donovan said. “Discipline is the biggest factor here. We’re running a sort of relaxed atmosphere for I believe that high school football should be fun. But also along those lines the men know that there is a lot of work involved in the game.”

Donovan sees Middletown’s offensive backfield as its key to success in 1981.

“We have three to four good tailbacks and three good fullbacks that should turn some turf,” he said. “Brad Mrakovich is our No. 1 quarterback at this point. Behind him is a junior, Billy Lerch. They’re inexperienced but have the potential.”

NRC gives GPU reins of TMI Unit 1

Officials at Three Mile Island Nuclear Station expressed satisfaction with a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission decision authorizing transfer of the TMI Unit 1 operating license to GPU Nuclear Corp.

The NRC's order authorizes commission staff to amend the TMI-1 license to designate GPU Nuclear Corp. as the operator of TMI Unit 1. The plant is still restricted from starting up until a decision is received from the NRC. That decision is expected later this year.

Applications for amendments to transfer the licenses of TMI Unit 2 and the Oyster Creek, New Jersey, Nuclear Station to GPU Nuclear have been filed. GPU Nuclear officials are hoping that all licenses will be transferred simultaneously this fall.

Hot buys

• Fish and chips with cole slaw, $2.25. Pork chops with potato, $3.95. J&J Pizza and Family Restaurant, corner of Main and Race streets, Middletown.

• Any two rooms, $39. Any three rooms, $49. D&S Carpet Cleaners, 65 Kathy Drive, Middletown.

• 1980 Mustang Ghia, $5,995. Ken Hess Motors, West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown.

Other headlines

• Problems at Middletown Pool resurface again

• Fire-Ambulance Association wants voter views on tax support

• Middletown school employees to vote on contract