UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: According to Bedford County officials, the hazardous material situation at the Bedford Regional Water Authority’s (BRWA) treatment plant on Orange Street has been contained after causing 16 people to receive medical treatment on Friday.
Around 7:40 a.m. on Friday, April 15, the BRWA received a chemical delivery at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant on Orange Street, but there was an inadvertent mixture of two chemicals that led to a chlorine gas cloud.
Due to this incident, four people were transported to Bedford Memorial Hospital — where they were treated and released — while 12 people were evaluated and treated on the scene.
A joint statement from Bedford County, the Town of Bedford, and the BRWA says that members of the Bedford Police Department went door to door to alert 46 residences and seven businesses Friday morning, informing them about the situation and suggesting they evacuate.
In addition, the Blue Ridge Community Church opened a shelter for anyone who needed a place to go, but as of this writing, nobody has used this shelter.
Several teams have been on site monitoring the air quality of the exterior and interior of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant to ensure the chlorine gas has been dissipated.
As of 3:30 p.m., the air quality inside and outside of the plant read 0 parts per million for chlorine gas. BRWA staff are currently inside the plant to assess the situation and ensure proper measures are taken moving forward.
Officials believe this was an isolated situation at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, saying that no water or wastewater services are disrupted, the drinking water system is not impacted, and the water from the potable system is safe to drink.
This situation was resolved thanks to a united effort from the following agencies:
- Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue
- Bedford Fire Department
- Bedford Police Department
- Bedford Public Works
- Bedford Regional Water Authority
- Bedford County Sheriff’s Office
- Centra Health Transport
- Forest Fire Department
- Life Care Ambulance Service
- Moneta Fire Department
- Salem Hazardous Material
- Roanoke Hazardous Material
- Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)
- W.E.L. (Cleanup Services)
If you still have questions or concerns about this hazmat incident in Bedford, you can call a special hotline at 540-587-6060.
UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: Bedford County officials are holding another briefing on Friday about the hazmat incident involving a chemical mix-up at the Bedford Wastewater Treatment Plant, which sent at least two to the hospital and caused others to evacuate.
This news comes after the Town of Bedford announced that the only street closures still in place after the incident were Gold Street and Orange Street.
UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: Officials in Bedford County have shared additional information about a chemical mix-up at the Bedford Wastewater Treatment Plant that resulted in the release of a toxic chlorine cloud, sending at least two to the hospital the resulting in the evacuation of the surrounding area.
Crews on scene tell WFXR News that a Bedford Regional Water Authority employee and a Bedford police officer were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue has also called in hazmat teams to help with decontaminating and stabilizing the spill.
If you have any concerns or questions about this hazmat incident, you are asked to call 540-587-6060, which is a hotline set up by Bedford County.
According to the Bedford County Fire Marshal, two chemicals were mixed, which created a large amount of chlorine gas just after 9 a.m. on Friday, April 15.
However, officials say the incident has not impacted the town’s water or wastewater supply.
As of this writing, Orange Street is still closed until further notice.
UPDATE 11 a.m.: WFXR News has learned that a Bedford Regional Water Authority employee and a Bedford police officer have been taken to the hospital to get checked out amid Friday morning’s hazmat incident.
Meanwhile, two residents reportedly had to be evacuated as crews respond to the Bedford chemical leak.
According to Bedford County officials, there will be a news conference about this incident at 11:30 a.m. You can watch that news conference live here on WFXRtv.com, on the WFXR News Facebook page, or on the WFXR News app.
UPDATE 10:28 a.m.: Bedford County officials say a hotline has been created for anyone living or working in the area around the wastewater treatment plant on Orange Street, which is where a chemical leak was reported Friday morning.
If you have any concerns or questions about this hazmat incident — such as whether your street is affected by the evacuation — you are asked to call 540-587-6060.
Meanwhile, Bedford town officials say the situation is contained and cleanup efforts have begun for this hazmat incident. In order to help with the cleanup, people are asked to avoid the areas of Centertown, E. Main, Independence, South Street, and all of Orange Street.
If you are in need of decontamination, you are asked to visit the site at 940 Orange Street.
BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Two people are injured while many others in the Town of Bedford are being evacuated after a report of a major hazardous material incident Friday morning.
According to a statement released by Bedford County just after 9 a.m. on Friday, April 15, the Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue and Bedford Fire Department are on the scene of a chemical leak at the Bedford Wastewater Treatment Plant on Orange Street.
As a precaution, residents and businesses in the immediate surrounding area are being evacuated, officials say. However, this evacuation does not affect downtown Bedford.
The Bedford County Fire Marshal says two chemicals were mixed that created a large amount of chlorine gas.
As of this writing, two individuals are reportedly being treated for non–life threatening injuries.
The Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue has called in regional hazmat teams to help them handle decontamination and stabilization of the spill.
According to the Bedford Police Department, all of its officers are out blocking streets as needed — including Orange Street and streets along E. Main — to keep citizens safe.
Police ask community members to stay away from the 800 and 900 blocks of Orange Street until further notice. First responders also urge motorists to avoid the town in general, including the Independence Boulevard area.
“Please keep our officers and firefighters and other first responders in your thoughts as we continue to keep Bedford safe,” the Bedford Police Department tweeted.
WFXR News has a crew at the scene working to gather more information.
This is a developing story.