News Feature | January 10, 2018

Gas Buildup Causes Wastewater Plant Explosion

Sara Jerome
firefighter reg new

A wastewater treatment plant in Missouri suffered an explosion last week as a result of methane gas buildup in the plant.

The explosion occurred around 10:30 pm and part of the building collapsed as a result, KSHB reported. Still, after the city fire department responded, the plant was able to avoid closing.

“No one was injured in the explosion, which damaged a hallway and stairwell. On Thursday morning, Kansas City Water was assessing the damage, which was categorized as being more than minor, closer to substantial,” The Kansas City Star reported.

“Workers also were cleaning up debris and making repairs. Methane gas is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process. It was unknown what sparked the explosion,” the report said, citing a water department official.

“The explosion occurred near the plant's rear door and damage was reported in the hallway and stairwell. A monetary damage estimate was not immediately available,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Methane is a byproduct of wastewater treatment, the AP reported, noting that the water department planned to investigate the cause of the explosion.

Industrial Scientific, a gas detection company, warns about the dangers of gas buildup from wastewater treatment processes on its blog.

“The potential for slips, trips, and falls exists in wastewater treatment plants and those basic hazards become more acute when dangerous gases in the air throughout such a facility precipitate them,” the blog says, listing methane, hydrogen sulfide, and oxygen (of lack thereof) as the main gases of concern.

To read more about such incidents at wastewater treatment facilities visit Water Online’s Resiliency Solutions Center.

Image Credit: "House Fire on Clinton Place in Hackensack, New Jersey," © 2012 Anthony Quintano, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/