Atlantis

The Atlantis site of NCP Chlorchem is intended for warehousing and the distribution of chlorine drums and cylinders.

Background

The Western Cape-based chlorine storage depot previously operated at a location in Montague Gardens. Neighbouring businesses, industrial concerns, and ongoing property development were however not compatible with a major hazardous installation (MHI), and it became necessary for the depot to relocate.

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The Atlantis site was identified as the most feasible location after several were assessed as suitable alternatives. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) took several years, involving I&APs at all stages. A positive record of decision was received at the end of November 2010.

Construction

Construction of the depot, located in Neil Hare Road, commenced in January 2011, with an estimated completion date of July 2011. The civil engineering contract was awarded to JNM Construction, and Slabbert & Associates are the civil engineers tasked with design.

Amongst the conditions to be met is a stipulation that NCP Chlorchem clear all alien vegetation from the site which is currently heavily infested with Port Jackson and Rooikrans. Once cleared, the company is required to rehabilitate it by restoring the natural vegetation.

Chlorine

Used principally for water disinfection, chlorine is indispensable in the production of potable (drinking) water. The chemical is also used to disinfect treated waste water and swimming pool water to minimize the risk of water borne diseases.

Chlorine is produced at the company’s Chloorkop site. An electric current is passed through a salt water solution (brine) using membrane cell technology. The resulting chlorine gas is compressed into liquid form and transferred to drums, cylinders, and road tankers for distribution.

End-users in the Western, Northern and Southern Cape areas will be supplied with chlorine from the Atlantis depot.

Chlorine Depot

The depot accommodates full and empty chlorine drums (1000kg capacity) and cylinders (70kg capacity). These are distributed to end-users or returned to the Chloorkop site for refilling.

Cylinders or drums that have been filled at Chloorkop are transported to the Atlantis depot by road freight trailers, and offloaded within the confines of the warehouse building. The filled chlorine containers are stored in an enclosed storage facility.

The probability of leaks in the warehouse at Atlantis is minimal. Dispatch of drums and cylinders from the filling plant at Chloorkop does not take place for at least 24 hours after filling, during which time any latent valve leaks are identified, isolated and rectified.

While leaks may occur with chlorine cylinders and tanks, these generally happen when the end user operates the valves during use of the drum or cylinder.

In the unlikely event of a leak occurring at the depot, the company is highly experienced in handling such incidents. The storage facility is linked to an emergency scrubber to convert any chlorine gas that may be released in the event of an incident. Using a Powell Sentry Scrubber and a circulating caustic soda solution, the released chlorine is converted to sodium hypochlorite.

Safety Systems

Safety features built into the plant surpass those recommended by the Chlorine Institute as a minimum requirement.

  • If a leak occurs, a sentry scrubber unit contains the chlorine gas, evacuates and neutralizes it.
  • The safety systems and scrubber are on emergency power.
  • All employees at the Atlantis site are fully trained in the handling of chlorine emissions from any chlorine container on the site.
  • The services of an on-site Hazchem team are available to any customer that experiences problems with leaks. The team will ensure that the errant container is safely sealed and returned to the depot. Alternatively, should the need arise, the NCP Chlorchem Hazchem team will be dispatched from Chloorkop to oversee the return of the secured container directly to the Chloorkop site.