10 Workers Injured in Water Reclamation Plant Explosion

Source: Andreas Karelias - 123RF/Sun News

CHICAGO, IL – Ten people were injured in the explosion and collapse at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant at 430 East 130th Street, Thursday, Aug 30th.

Firefighters rushed to the plant, bringing in their special operations team for the rescue effort of the 10 workers who were inside the building during the explosion. Fire officials from CFD said the cause of the explosion was accidental and was the result of human error.

According to ABC7, the explosion occurred in a room that contains a large tank that is recessed into the ground and holds sludge and they were in the process of pumping the sludge to the next building where it is broken down.

Workers were doing work on the vessel and were supposed to use an impact wrench to take apart the vessel, but the wrong tool was used and a flame subsequently ignited methane, a byproduct of the sludge, that was in the atmosphere.

The explosion caused the roof to raise and instead of the walls blowing out, the roof went up and came back down and the supports were no longer aligned, leading to the roof collapse.

Two workers remain hospitalized, one in serious condition and one in fair condition.

OSHA has launched an investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, a statement from the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant said it will thoroughly investigate this incident and work to identify measures to prevent something like this from happening again.