Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
A swale between Health Network Laboratories and a lawn care company in Hanover Township was the site of a hazardous condition recently. Two people were taken to the hospital for treatment.PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMIL A swale between Health Network Laboratories and a lawn care company in Hanover Township was the site of a hazardous condition recently. Two people were taken to the hospital for treatment.PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMIL

Suspected ammonia spill investigated in Hanover Township

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by paul cmil Special to The Press in Local News

Fifteen ambulances converged on a Hanover Township site when a hazardous condition was reported June 1.

Details of the event were reported to the township council at their June 6 meeting by township clerk Vicky Roth.

“We received a call from Health Network Laboratories about an ammonia smell coming from the swale between two buildings,” Roth said. “We contacted Base Engineering, who went over to investigate.”

The building is located on Roble Road.

Ammonia can mix with some chemicals with explosive results.

Base Engineering contacted DEP who sent out a HAZMAT team. At one point, some 15 ambulances converged on the site.

Staff members at Health Network Laboratories were checked and two were sent to the hospital and subsequently released.

Township Engineer Albert Kortze also informed the council.

“The report shows that an adjacent lawn-care business had received a delivery of ammonia,” he said. “They use the product in their fertilizer.

“Our best guess is that the truck delivering the ammonia had a leak and that it got into the swale,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Todd Brosky, of Brosky Insurance, addressed the council on the township’s insurance needs. Brosky has been handling the borough’s insurance needs for nearly 25 years and has developed a close relationship with the staff. The Brosky office is located on Race Street in Hanover Township.

A competitive company was interested in quoting an insurance package.

The borough, with Brosky as a regional broker, is part of a municipal trust that is set up as a mutual insurance company. There are approximately 400 municipalities in the trust.

The borough pays fees into the trust. The insurance fees cover claim expenses and capital reserves. As a mutual trust company, the borough has a claim on a portion of the capital reserves.

Any funds not used for claims or required to maintain financial health are rebated to the members. Last year, the borough received $27,000 in rebates.

MRM Trust has a re-insurance agreement with top-rated companies that kicks in if there is a major catastrophe.

The competitor, in a letter to council, indicated that they could provide insurance at a similar cost without waiting for the annual rebates from the trust.

A decision was made after council members had private discussions with the borough staff.

With a minimal difference in the cost of insurance, the close ties with Brosky and their dedicated staff won the day, and the council decided not to accept the offer from the competing agency.

In other business, the Kortze reported PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are collecting data on some local roads.

“This appears to be only a data-collection effort. The request is for roads that are heavily traveled,” he said. “It’s part of the Highway Performance Monitoring System. They are asking for information on Pennsylvania Avenue, Irving Street and Catasauqua Road.”