How a Gas Scrubber Functions In a Real-World Emergency

An emergency gas scrubber was put to the test during a chlorine leak at an Indian plant. Here's how it performed.

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In early March 2015, a chlorine leak at the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant in Tennessee sent two plant employees to the hospital. The leak, which was eventually attributed to human error when employees changed out a chlorine canister, was contained and quickly resolved, thanks to an emergency gas scrubber unit from Purafil.

“Without the scrubber, we would have had a building full of chlorine gas and no real way to treat it,” said Plant Director Michael Patrick in an interview with News Channel 9.

However, at the time of the incident, confusion lingered over how the unit responded. The Chattanooga Fire Department and its hazmat teamed were called in two additional times for smoke reports, which were actually benign steam from the unit.

“The unit had performed as it was supposed to,” says Don Apking, Purafil senior sales manager.  “(Workers) turned the blower off, and what that did was elevate the temperature in the unit. What they thought was smoke coming off was actually steam vapor.”

At the Moccasin Bend plant, continued airflow over the unit would eventually have dissipated the heat. However, when the blower was turned off and a crew began to wash the scrubber down, a plume of steam was created. 

The 12-year-old unit was inspected after the incident and was approved for continuous use. Apking says the unit cleared the building of all dangerous gases within 45 minutes, successfully preventing what could have been a larger incident.

“In less than one week, we had the unit back up and running with replacement media,” says Apking. “We found that even with the elevated temp, the unit was fine.”

July 9 correction: The original story incorrectly stated the plant is in Indiana. The Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant is in Tennessee.

About Purafil
Purafil manufactures an array of air purification products and has more than 500 emergency gas scrubbers in place around the world. For more information, visit


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