Commission to discuss hiring consultants

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YERINGTON - Lyon County commissioners will be asked today to hire a consultant to assist with the investigation into the July 30 explosion at a Dayton industrial plant.

Central Lyon County Fire Chief Bill Driscoll said outside expertise is needed to analyze the investigation by the outside consulting firm hired by Advanced Specialty Gases.

"The chemical technology, theory and processes involved are highly specialized," Driscoll said. "Expertise beyond our local resources is needed to analyze the ASG investigation to help Lyon County determine if there is cause for either denying the renewal of their Special Use Permit or revoking it at this time."

ASG hired Failure Analysis Associates, a division of Exponent, to work with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to study the cause of the explosion in the plant's purification portion of the facility. The blast blew the roof panels off that portion of the building.

According to ASG President Michael Koonce, the incident could be compared to a boiler room explosion and all safety features worked as they were intended. He has said the incident caused the release of approximately 100 cubic feet of nitrogen trifluoride gas and was no danger of involving the hydrogen fluoride stored in another part of the building.

Small doses of hydrogen fluoride can cause severe respiratory damage. Driscoll has referred to hydrogen fluoride as "nasty stuff that does not belong in the community."

At the Sept. 21 board meeting, Milz asked the county to consider allocating $20,000 for the consultant, saying he and District Attorney Robert Estes have additional information about ASG that "is a good reason to approve the hiring of a consultant." He would not reveal his information to the rest of the board at that time.

Mark Zusy, NDEP Supervisor of the Chemical Accident Prevention Branch, stated at the Oct. 5 meeting he also supports the hiring of an outside consultant but said his agency does not have the funding.

Commissioners postponed taking any action until today's meeting.

The Lyon County commissioners meet in the Administrative Complex, 27 S. Main Street, Yerington beginning at 9 a.m. For information, call 577-5037 (Dayton/Silver Springs) or 463-6531.

If you go

What: Lyon County Commission meeting

When: 9 a.m. today

Where: 27 S. Main St., Yerington

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