WEF Offers New Webcast on Methanol Safety at Wastewater Treatment Facilities

The Water Environment Federation (WEF), in cooperation with the Methanol Institute (MI), will host "Methanol Safety: Understanding and Managing Risks," a new Webcast about methanol safety at wastewater treatment facilities, on Wednesday, July 23, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

Many of the nation's wastewater treatment plants add methanol to accelerate the biodegradation of excess nitrogen and reduce nitrogen-loading of sensitive aquifers from plant effluent. Although effective, methanol emits flammable vapors that can result in explosions if the risks are not adequately understood and safety awareness and precautions are not clearly communicated and carefully observed.

In January 2006, two workers were killed and one critically injured from a methanol vapor explosion at the Bethune Point wastewater treatment facility in Daytona, Fla. Following a year-long investigation of the accident, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) -- an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents -- released a report that included a recommendation for WEF and MI to promote methanol safety at wastewater treatment facilities. As a result, the two organizations launched a safety awareness campaign which included presentations at WEF specialty conferences, WEFTEC®.07, and the development of this new Webcast to convey the message that once the physical properties and risks of working around methanol are understood accidents like Bethune Point can be avoided.

The 1.5 hour Webcast will include an overview of the CSB investigation recommendations from the Bethune Point accident; a review of lessons learned from the Bethune Point experience, and how to avoid repeating such accidents; discussion of the physical properties, potential risks, and design considerations associated with methanol; and lessons learned from a recent fire and safety drill conducted at the Washington D.C. Water and Sewer Authority. In addition, the Webcast will conclude with a question and answer session with the following panelists:

• Charles B. Bott, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Associate Professor, Virginia Military Institute, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering

• Alan J. Callier, P.E., SSoHC Chair, Donohue & Associates

• Gregory Dolan, Methanol Institute

• Robert J. Hall, P.E., Chemical Safety Board

• Gary R. Johnson, P.E., Senior Project Manager, CDM

• Everett Lallis, CUSA, Washington D.C. Water and Sewer Authority

• George C. Wellon, P.E., Methanex Corporation

The registration deadline for this Webcast is July 16, 2008. Visit www.wef.org for more details and registration information.

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