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September 21, 2022Qualco chemical plant lacked federal oversight at time of giant Passaic fire

Despite housing millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals, the Passaic chlorine plant that was almost engulfed in a massive fire earlier this year was not required to register its stockpile with the federal government or develop a special safety plan, according to a report released Tuesday by a watchdog group. The Qualco chlorine plant falls outside the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Management Plan and its most recent revisions designed to prevent chemical disasters like the one that nearly unfolded in January. "A stronger rule is needed to ensure that hazards are removed, or we will continue to see more chemical disasters," said Steve Taylor, a director at Coming Clean, an environmental nonprofit group based in Vermont. Elias Rodriguez, an EPA spokesman, confirmed that Qualco is not in the EPA's program because it "does not meet threshold quantities of RMP-regulated substances."

 

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