The staff of the Harlem wastewater treatment facility will get to practice what they have learned in the classroom about dealing with a chlorine gas leak on Thursday when Columbia County goes through an emergency preparedness exercise centered on the Harlem plant.
"We've been to class ... on it, but now as far as actually doing it, this is what (the exercise) is going to be about. This will be the actual trial of doing it, of going through and seeing what has to be done," said Daniel Cason, superintendent of the wastewater facility.
Cason said that his workers will start the exercise about 10 a.m. when the workers will simulate being overcome with the chlorine gas.
"I'm going to call it in, and that team is going to respond, and they're going to go through everything that would actually take place if it happened," he said.
All residents and businesses within a 0.7-mile radius of the wastewater treatment plant will be evacuated or told to take shelter indoors.
The area will also be cordoned off by emergency response teams.
Emergency Services Division Director Pam Tucker said that information about how to take shelter indoors is being hand delivered to nearby residents and businesses by the Harlem police and fire departments.
She said the wastewater plant has several facilities within the 0.7-mile radius that will need special attention. They include North Harlem Elementary School, Daycare Academy, Harlem Middle School, Harlem City Hall, Harlem police headquarters and the CSRA Headstart.
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