PITTSBURG -- Nearly a month after the accidental release of a small amount of chlorine gas at K2 Pure Solutions on Loveridge Road, the plant is expected to resume partial operations sometime this week.
K2 Pure Solutions stopped production early Dec. 4 after the plant's chlorine liquefaction unit malfunctioned a day earlier due to an equipment problem. No one was injured as a result of the incident and the chlorine that leaked was mostly contained to the K2 property, according to county officials.
"The plant is starting up, the main section of the plant today (Tuesday) or tomorrow so we are ready to start producing again," said Leon Zaal, vice president and general manager of K2's Pittsburg plant.
However, the liquefaction unit is not expected to resume operations until sometime in February after repairs have been made, he said. "That's the best estimate for now," he said.
An investigation determined a heat-exchanging equipment failure caused the leak, Zaal said. That piece of equipment is being replaced, in addition to other repairs to the liquefaction unit that will be done before it reopens.
In September 2011, Toronto-based K2 opened its Pittsburg plant on a 13-acre parcel on Dow's Pittsburg property as a result of a partnership between K2 and Dow.
The K2 plant uses the liquefaction unit to provide Dow's Pittsburg operations with chlorine to make crop protection products and other materials. Other areas of the K2 plant are used to produce bleach products used by other customers.
Operations at Dow's Pittsburg plant have not been impacted, said Dow spokesman Randy Fischback. As a result of the temporary shutdown of the liquefaction unit, Dow has been obtaining chlorine from an out-of-state supplier, he said.
Zaal said the 55 employees who work at the K2 plant did not lose work hours after the unit was shut down.
"We were all there to get things ready (and) get going again," he said.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her at Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.