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January 8, 2024
1 Min Read
Worker in an alumina plant.Image courtesy of Robert Nickelsberg / Contributor via Getty Images
Five workers sustained chemical burns in an incident at the Atalco alumina plant in Gramercy, LA, on Sunday afternoon.
The Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP) said the incident happened around 3:43 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, and lasted about two minutes. Plant workers were changing a valve that was under pressure when they were burned by a high pH caustic solution. The amount of solution released is still being investigated.
The five workers were taken to a hospital with burns, with three having to be airlifted. One of the patients was airlifted to the burn center at Baton Rouge General Hospital in Baton Rouge, hospital spokesperson Meghan Parrish said. That helicopter touched down at the hospital at 5:21 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7.
The incident happened at a small worksite in the plant. The caustic solution was released to concrete and will not have any offsite impacts, according to OHSEP.
On its website, Atalco claims it is the last operating alumina refinery in the US. The Gramercy refinery plant has been in business since 1957 and began production of smelter grade alumina under Kaiser Aluminum, was called Noranda previously, and is now called Atlantic Alumina or Atalco.
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