For more than 100 years, JEA has been operating at numerous locations within our community and has never had a chemical release large enough to harm any of our neighbors or customers. JEA is committed to continuing this excellent safety record.
Our Risk Management Plan
A Risk Management Plan (RMP) reports to the community three key elements designed to minimize potential hazards at our facilities: a hazard assessment, an accident prevention program and the emergency response capabilities. The RMP was designed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the safe storage and use of certain chemicals, to minimize the likelihood of releasing them to the air, and to minimize the potential consequences to people and the environment should a release occur.
It addresses two scenarios: an unlikely worst-case scenario and a more realistic alternative-case scenario. Each facility storing or using a listed chemical at or above a specified threshold amount must prepare a Risk Management Plan.
In the unlikely event that a significant release did occur at a JEA facility, the fire department will notify those people in close proximity to the plant who could be exposed to the chemical. Fire department officials will instruct those individuals to evacuate the area until the chemical dissipates, or that they "shelter-in-place." Sheltering-in-place involves staying indoors with windows closed and heating, air conditioning and ventilating systems turned off.
Chemicals covered by our RMP
JEA uses three chemicals in quantities covered by RMP:
- Chlorine is used to disinfect water at water production plants, wastewater treatment plants and power plants.
- Sulfur dioxide is used in conjunction with chlorine at wastewater treatment plants. The sulfur dioxide helps to neutralize any extra chlorine in the treated wastewater before it leaves our wastewater plants.
- Propane is used at JEA's power plants to help start the combustion process (burning of the fuel).
Under most realistic scenarios, chlorine and sulfur dioxide can cause irritation of the nose and upper respiratory tract. Although propane is a flammable gas, it is unlikely to cause any consequences outside the plant.
Protecting your family and the environment
Each JEA facility has numerous safeguards in place to protect you and your family, our employees and the environment. For example:
- Systems for storing and using chemicals are designed to provide a safety margin.
- Safety devices, such as pressure safety valves, leak detectors, alarms and automatic shut-off valves. These systems are monitored 24 hours a day.
- On-site written operating procedures address every conceivable mode of operation to ensure JEA employees maintain control over the entire system.
JEA has an excellent preventive maintenance program designed to replace equipment before it fails.
- Every JEA employee working with these chemicals is highly experienced and completes thorough training.
- JEA's Emergency Response Program has established written procedures for responding as rapidly as possible to minimize potential consequences of chemical releases.
- Regular inspections and audits ensure compliance with all RMP requirements.
- Cooperation already established between JEA and all community emergency response teams, including the fire and rescue department, the police department and the emergency planning committee, increases speed and effectiveness of emergency responses.