David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON: 
Kenneth Rosenblatt, Deputy District Attorney
(408) 792-2572   For release on May 3, 2007   SIERRA CHEMICAL PAYS $67,000 FINE FOR RELEASE OF CHLORINE GAS AT SWIMMING POOL   Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr today announced that Sierra Chemical, a Nevada corporation with a depot in Stockton, pleaded no contest to releasing chlorine gas at a high school swimming pool in Sunnvyale last year.  Sierra Chemical is one of the largest chemical delivery companies doing business in California, and delivers  swimming pool and other chemicals statewide.  On March 6, 2006, the company mistakenly sent muriatic acid (a common pool chemical, also known as hydrochloric acid) to the wrong high school, the Kings Academy in Sunnyvale.  The driver, Mr. Sinjay Detleuxay, who was not aware of the error, failed to notice that the large tank in the pool equipment room at King’s Academy did not contain muriatic acid, but sodium hypochlorite.  In mixing those two chemicals he created a potentially deadly chlorine gas cloud which wafted over Kings Academy and an adjacent Montessori day care center.    The Sunnyvale Department of Safety promptly evacuated the area, and ambulances took seven children to area hospitals for further observation.  They were released shortly thereafter.    Sierra Chemical has paid the $27,000 bill for the emergency response.  As part of its no contest plea to a misdemeanor violation of Health and Safety Code Section 42400.1, it will pay an additional fine and penalty assessments of $69,000.  The driver, Mr. Detleuxay, who pleaded no contest to the same charge, will pay a fine and penalty assessments of $3,450, and perform 100 hours of community service.    Releases of chlorine gas as a result of the accidental mixing of these two pool chemicals are all too common in California and around the world.  Sierra Chemical will alter its delivery system statewide to ensure that hoses carrying one chemical will not fit onto tanks delivering the other.    The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety investigated this case, which was prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Unit.     ###

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