Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. has been ordered to cease operations that use trichloroisocyanuric acid at its Belding, Mich., plant in response to concerns about fires and chemical clouds, but it can resume production of plastic products.
Founded in 1985 as an extrusion business, KMI later added specialty tableting and injection molding. The company's website says it is one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of pool chlorine tablets.
On Aug. 9, an Ionia County judge issued a temporary restraining order for KMI to halt operations involving trichloroisocyanuric acid, which is a volatile chemical used to produce the tablets for chlorinating pools. The chemical catches fire and releases toxic chlorine gas when subjected to small amounts of water.
The court order amended a previous order to halt all operations following two fires at the facility on June 22 and July 19. Plastics processing can resume along with the manufacturing of other tablet products like Roofmelt Ice Melt, which helps break down ice dams on buildings.
In the June 22 incident, a fire reportedly started when water entered the facility through unrepaired holes in the roof. Chlorine gas was released into a neighboring residential area. No injuries were reported, but residents reported a strong smell of chlorine and a burning feeling on their skin from the gas cloud.
The Ionia County Health Department prohibited KMI at that point from using the chemical and ordered it to secure all supplies until the company could demonstrate safe handling, disposal and operations.
However, on July 19, a dumpster caught fire at KMI after the "unsafe disposal" of chemicals by employees "unaware of the present dangers posed by" trichloroisocyanuric acid, according to a complaint by county health officials, who then petitioned the court for the temporary restraining order.
The initial order was issued July 26 and covered all operations, however, it was revised Aug. 9 so KMI could resume extrusion and injection molding work.
Pool tablet production accounted for about 25 percent of all KMI's sales last year, according to MLive.com.
A KMI employee who answered the company's general number declined to give further information about the business or court proceedings.