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Ammonia leak reported at Torrey Farms

UPDATE 12:45 p.m.: Tim Yaeger, emergency coordinator, just informed dispatch that the leak was closed 7 minutes ago.

Original report continues below ...

A "major" ammonia leak has been reported at Torrey Farms, 7170 Norton Road and hazmat has been dispatched.

A first-responder said, "Two valves on this tank that need to be shut off, but no way can we get near it."

He also reported it's a 15 ton cylinder "just going wild."

The wind is 16 m.p.h. out of the east. 

Norton Road has been closed.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.  There's no new information at this time. Emergency teams are on scene. No report yet on the status of the leak. No indication of the situation getting worse.

UPDATE:  The media isn't being let into the scene, which isn't surprising. I'm not planning on going out there unless and until there is a press conference.

UPDATE: Here's what the State's health department site says about Ammonia:

How is ammonia used?
About 80% of the ammonia produced by industry is used in agriculture as fertilizer. Ammonia is also used as a refrigerant gas, for purification of water supplies, and in the manufacture of plastics, explosives, textiles, pesticides, dyes and other chemicals. It is found in many household and industrial-strength cleaning solutions. Household ammonia cleaning solutions are manufactured by adding ammonia gas to water and can be between 5 and 10% ammonia. Ammonia solutions for industrial use may be concentrations of 25% or higher and are corrosive.

How can people be exposed to ammonia?
Most people are exposed to ammonia from inhalation of the gas or vapors. Since ammonia exists naturally and is also present in cleaning products, exposure may occur from these sources. The widespread use of ammonia on farms and in industrial and commercial locations also means that exposure can occur from an accidental release or from a deliberate terrorist attack.

Anhydrous ammonia gas is lighter than air and will rise, so that generally it dissipates and does not settle in low-lying areas. However, in the presence of moisture (such as high relative humidity), the liquefied anhydrous ammonia gas forms vapors that are heavier than air. These vapors may spread along the ground or into low-lying areas with poor airflow where people may become exposed.


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Bea McManis
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Pray it doesn't rain until after they get this under control. http://www.maybeck.com/firefighting/Ammonia/index.html
Gabor Deutsch
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Any "place" that has dangerous chemicals should always have the proper equipment available to deal with these situations. This is ridiculous. Accidents happen everyday but this type of thing should be looked into. I hope no one gets injured. Hazmat funding and disaster preparedness is a joke !
Chris Scopano
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You can think it's a joke until your involved in a situation yourself. These situations are very dangerous and that's why the county has a specialized team to handle them. Speaking from experience dealing with these types of incidents that is...
Karen Miconi
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This sounds serious. I own land on Whitney Mill around the corner. I wonder what damage it will cause, if any to the wildlife. I hope they are successful turning it of before all 15 tons leaks out. I think they should inform Elba residents, and the school of this issue.
Bea McManis
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David, the MSDS for this type of situation is very clear. Check out the number of spills documented in NYS. They happen, but are few and far between. http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/chemicals/hsees/ammonia.htm
Gabor Deutsch
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I dont think the response team or hazmat people are a joke. My big worry is that when these things occur the first response team is put at risk and maybe ill equipt ? I understand how expensive the service and clean up can be not to mention the consequences of such a leak. It just disturbs me that the safe guards in place to nip this in the bud are maybe outdated. I guess its just me. I grew up during the love canal and nuclear power plant incidents and a couple hundred major oil spills so i guess i get a little "hoity toity" when stuff happens like this near me.
Bea McManis
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"Anhydrous ammonia gas is lighter than air and will rise, so that generally it dissipates and does not settle in low-lying areas. However, in the presence of moisture (such as high relative humidity), the liquefied anhydrous ammonia gas forms vapors that are heavier than air. These vapors may spread along the ground or into low-lying areas with poor airflow where people may become exposed." Which is why I originally said I hope the rain holds off until the situation is under control. I went through one of these in Henderson, NV. The radio and TV kept a running dialogue on what people were to do until the cloud dissipated.
Gabor Deutsch
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That was a great link ya posted Bea. I am so glad it didnt happen when it is going to rain (tonite). I once experienced a mild ammonia type leak at a drive thru when they cleaned a bathroom with industrial strength ammonia I walked in and in seven seconds I passed out. Being 7 years old and in the seventies they just closed the bathroom and patted me on the head.
Chris Scopano
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The hazmat or response team is put at risk because it is our job to respond to these incidents. We sign up knowing the risk at hand. Just as volunteer fireman join knowing they will have to go into burning buildings. If it wasn't for first responders or volunteers these situations could be a lot worse, be thankful we have people like them around. Genesee County is well equiped for these types of situations. They have extensive equipment and resources available. As for the cleanup, it is paid for by the owners of the tank etc. not by the county or taxpayers. The hazmat team etc is reimbursed for their expenses...
Gabor Deutsch
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Thank You Chris. It is important for people to know this. I will say again that I didnt mean the response team is a joke but just the idea that places are allowed to store these toxic chemicals and dont have the proper safe guards in place. I am glad that said "owner" will be responsible for payment. Not in taxes or penaulties, but now that it is proven what can happen they will be forced to make sure proper preventive measures are in place. Thank You to everyone whom posted becoz this stuff happens and shouldnt be ignored.
Bea McManis
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You don't know if proper safeguards weren't in place. That is a serious accusation. Spills happen, even under the most controlled circumstances. It is the nature of the beast. The safeguard is that there are procedures in place to minimize the risk when a spill occurs. In a perfect world, of course, it would never happen. Until we arrive at that perfect place, we have to depend on the training given to hazmat personnel and the information they have (MSDS - which is updated constantly).
Gabor Deutsch
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Dont kill me I am only the poster, kill the messenger ! I would have not known till the news at noon on TV. I get my interactive news at noon from the batavian. I just feel stongly about certain things. I have learned to not post on certain topics but I am realising that I may get breaking news with a motive to get a reaction. Its like the easy button on that commercial. I will say that I am not afraid to sound "uneducated" but I have learned alot from this website,deleted posts,have had posts deleted with explanation, Have felt bad after a post, and Have changed my mind about an issue from reading posts. I have nothing to loose so I stick by everything I typed except for the word "joke". I have to live with myself so imagine how I feel..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54JktleK-9Q
Bea McManis
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Posted by Gabor Deutsch on May 26, 2009 - 3:25pm Dont kill me I am only the poster, kill the messenger !http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54JktleK-9Q No problem David. Everyone has an opinion, that is what makes this world interesting and makes this type of forum fun. ...oh no! Not getting roped into watching a 6 minute thing...I already read the interaction between you and Howard - lol
Gabor Deutsch
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freedom of the press (teehee).
charlene shultz
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I live across from the farm Moreen Torey kept me informed at all times,,i was very confident with Torey farms being responsible and with the emergency system,,just wanted to thank you all for being so great in this situation!
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