Rutland Herald (VT)
October 16, 2013
Section: NEWS

Omya Hazmat team to remove chemical

   Bruce Edwards

PROCTOR — Omya Inc. will call in a private hazardous materials team next week to dispose of a chemical found in its former lab building. Jim Stewart, Omya plant manager, said the chemical, collodion, was used in testing paper made with the company’s calcium carbonate product.

Stewart said workers were recently cleaning out the former lab building when they found a 500-milliliter bottle containing about two cups of the chemical in a refrigerator.

He said the chemical had passed its expiration date and as a result could become unstable.

“The danger — not that it would ever happen — (is that) if you drop this bottle after so much period of time it could detonate,” Stewart said.

Collodion is also used as an adhesive to close small wounds and is used for making photographic plates. It’s a highly flammable solution of pyroxylin, ether and alcohol.

Stewart said Omya has notified state and local officials, including the town fire department.

The company has contracted with Clean Harbors to remove and dispose of the chemical Oct. 23. A hazardous materials crew will be on scene between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., at the former Omya lab building, next to the town office.

Stewart said the parking lot, which is shared with the town office, will be closed but Main Street will remain open.

Omya has 24 employees remaining in Proctor in its geology department. Proctor was once the company’s North American headquarters; Omya has since relocated its headquarters to Cincinnati.

The company continues to operate a calcium carbonate plant in the Florence section of Pittsford.