Mistaken mixture of chemicals triggered blast at waste plant that sent 52 to hospitals

IndustriesAssociated Press

A waste treatment plant explosion in Southern California that drove people from their homes in November was caused when a chemical was mistakenly mixed with residential sewage.

The blast at Santa Clara Wastewater in Ventura County sent 52 people to hospitals, including 10 firefighters. All but two were quickly treated and released, and none of the injuries were life-threatening.

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The Ventura County Star reports Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1Ccdzic ) that an investigation found the explosion was a chemical reaction caused by the addition of sodium chlorite to sewage. Sodium chlorite is a water treatment agent the firm says it was using for the first time.

Officials say the chemical and the waste were carried in similar containers, which might have led to the mistake.

The cleanup is completed, but the plant remains closed pending a county review.

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Information from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com