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No one injured in chemical spill at Dry Fork Station

A spill Sept. 26 in a warehouse at Dry Fork Station was fully contained and no one was injured, according to media officials.

Dry Fork Station in Gillette (Tracie Bettenhausen)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — A Sept. 26 spill in a warehouse at Dry Fork Station was fully contained and no one was injured, according to Basin Electric Power Cooperative media officials.

The Dry Fork Station–owned and –operated warehouse is about 550 feet from other onsite buildings, Senior Staff Writer/Editor Tracie Bettenhausen said.

Dry Fork Station is on the 12400 block of North Highway 59, about 10 miles north of downtown Gillette.

Two lab technicians were present at the time of the spill of a liquid mixture of ammonium hydroxide monoethanolamine, Bettenhausen said. The spill occurred in the warehouse’s chemical storage room.

Communications Supervisor Lindsey Chumley said that a forklift pierced a container that the chemical was in, causing a spill of about 150 gallons in the room.

“Odors from the ammonium were given off as the liquid began to evaporate before being cleaned up,” Bettenhausen said. “Ammonium gives off an ammonia-like odor which is an irritant to the respiratory system.”

After the spill occurred, the area was evacuated and onsite personnel evaluated the situation, she said. The evacuation and evaluation took about an hour.

“Per our emergency action plan, personnel then called the fire department,” Bettenhausen said.

Campbell County Fire Department and ambulance services responded.

Campbell County Fire Department said Sept. 27 that it responded at 2:33 p.m. Sept. 26. The department worked with Basin Electric to complete the cleanup. The scene was turned back over at 12:43 a.m. Sept. 27. That is the time cleanup ended, Bettenhausen said.

The fire department’s hazardous materials team was onsite to absorb the chemical and put it in approved storage drums for proper disposal, Chumley said. The team determined warehouse reentry was safe.

Bettenhausen said that while spills occur from time to time, Dry Fork Station has a spill prevention control and countermeasures plan for containing all spills.

“Dry Fork Station implements emergency action plans, and safety and environmental procedures to protect employees and the surrounding areas of the plant,” Bettenhausen said. “Basin Electric strives for the safety of our employees, and we appreciate the steps our employees took after the incident to ensure everyone was safe and to follow the proper procedures to ensure the spill was contained and handled properly. Also, thanks to our local emergency responders for their quick response.”

The safety team followed the manufacturer’s safety data sheet on the chemical to ensure cleanup was performed correctly, Chumley said.

“Overall, it turned out as good as we could have hoped for,” she said.

Primarily, Dry Fork Station uses ammonium hydroxide monoethanolamine to control pH on the condensate and protect the metal in the air-cooled condenser, Bettenhausen said. The spill did not affect Dry Fork Station’s operations.

The fire department said its hazardous materials team activated a State of Wyoming Homeland Security Region 1 response to the incident and will not release any more information on the event.

Here is the safety data sheet for the product:


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