17 workers treated after ammonia leak at Whitehall building

WHITEHALL, Pa. — More than a dozen workers were treated Monday afternoon when hazmat crews were called to the scene of an ammonia leak in Whitehall.

According to Allegheny County dispatchers, the leak was reported at the Schneider's Dairy, along Frank Street, about 2 p.m.

Channel 11’s Rick Earle reported that workers with the water company were working on a line near the plant, triggering a drop in water pressure that activated a sensor valve in the ammonia tank. The tank then released ammonia to prevent the tank from exploding.

Whitehall Police Chief Donald Dofi said, “I don’t think there was a miscommunication. The water company employees know the plant is there, and the plant knew they were outside. I just think it’s one of those things that no one was able to foresee.”

Investigators told Earle that 17 workers were treated after the plant was evacuated. Eleven of those workers were taken to area hospitals as a precaution, and two of the 11 complained of having difficulties breathing.

Officers from several law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel crews went to the scene.

Operations at Schneider’s Dairy have since resumed.