Kansas distillery pleads guilty to Clean Air Act violation

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A distillery could be fined up to $1 million for a chlorine gas cloud that lingered over a city in northeastern Kansas in 2016.

Federal prosecutors say MGP Ingredients pleaded guilty Monday to negligently violating the federal Clean Air Act, a misdemeanor.

In October 2016, a chlorine gas cloud formed at the company’s Atchison plant when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite.

Residents evacuated the city 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Kansas City, or sheltered in place for hours. About 140 people sought medical attention.

A federal report blamed the leak on missing key rings on chemical storage tanks and a lack of attention to procedure.

Sentencing is Feb. 24. The company could be sentenced to five years of probation.

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