Operators at advanced waste treatment plants often use methanol as a carbon source as part of the process to remove nutrients from the wastewater.
Methanol is also known as wood alcohol or methyl alchol. Some important safety considerations, according to the Methanol Institute’s Methanol Safe Handling Manual include:
· Methanol is easily ignited
· Methanol is slightly heavier than air, and may collect in low areas or confined spaces
· Methanol is toxic, and ingestion of even a small amount can cause blindness or death – “Do not eat it, drink it, breath it or stand over it.”
· Methanol mixes easily in water – even a 25% solution is flammable.
So—methanol is nothing to fool around with. Be sure to download the Methanol Safe Handling Manual from the Methanol Institute and have all personnel who will be handling or working around methanol review it.
For a copy of the Chemical Safety Board's Investigation Report of a deadly methanol accident at Bethune Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Daytona click here.
To see a reinactment and read the CSB's findings on this accident, click here.