Haz Mat Team Responds to Ammonia Leak at Santa Clara Valley Water Treatment Plant

Water district confirms that Mountain View water not affected.

The San Jose Fire Department's hazardous materials team responded Saturday morning to an aqueous ammonia leak at a Santa Clara Valley water treatment plant, a fire captain said.

About 250 gallons of ammonia leaked into a secondary containment area at the Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant, fire Capt. Steve Forman said.

"We don't think there's been any involvement in the water treatment part," he said. "It will be an extended operation for cleanup; we'll be out there for a while."

A spokesman for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) confirmed that Mountain View does not get water from this facility. He added that there is no health risk.

"It was a small leak, considering," said Gerry Uenaka. "It's not considered a health risk."

According to SCVWD, the leak, caused by a broken instrument probe, was released from a 5,000-gallon holding tank and fully contained in a concrete secondary-containment area. As of 2:45 p.m., the fire department determined there was no more leaking, lifted the shelter-in-place warning for nearby San Jose residents and turned the site back to the water district for cleanup by its chemical crews.

Forman said it was too soon to know what the ramifications of the leak might be, but so far it doesn't appear the public is in danger. The full extent of the leak was not immediately known, though.

Because the plant is shut down for construction and maintenance, operations and water quality were unaffected.

The fire department received reports of the leak at about 10:45 a.m. and was en route to the scene at about 11:20 a.m., Forman said.

The Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant is a 100-million-gallon-per-day drinking water facility at 7011 Gravestone Ln. in San Jose's Almaden Valley.

—Additional reporting by Bay City News.


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