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Idaho

Employees evacuate after chemical leak at Idaho paper plant

Thu., Sept. 14, 2017, 8:40 a.m.

LEWISTON – No one was injured after a chemical leak forced evacuations at a paper manufacturing facility in Idaho.

The Lewiston Tribune reported that operations at Clearwater Paper in Lewiston returned to normal Wednesday evening after an alarm prompted about 400 employees and contractors to evacuate during the morning.

Company spokesman Matt Van Vleet says an undetermined volume of contaminants leaked for about a half-hour. He says the chemicals were likely antibacterial agents used to clean the manufacturing equipment inside the 180,000-square-foot building. The facilities were aired out and cleaned later that day so shifts could resume.

The manufacturing equipment was idle for annual maintenance at the time of the leak.

The incident was reported to local law enforcement and state and federal regulatory agencies.