2 companies each fined $1 million in Atchison chemical leak

Two companies that caused a chlorine gas leak over Atchison in 2016 have each been fined $1 million.

Harcos Chemicals and MGP Ingredients had pleaded guilty earlier to negligently violating the Clean Air Act. They were officially fined during a court hearing Wednesday. U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said the fines have been paid.

The chlorine gas cloud formed over Atchison in October 2016 when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid was mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite at MGP’s plant.

Nearby homes and schools were evacuated and residents were told to shelter in place. About 140 people sought medical attention.