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Chemical release in New Albany creates large yellow cloud

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WISH) — State and local environmental officials are looking into a chemical release Tuesday morning in New Albany that created a large yellow plume of smoke.

This solution, confirmed as nitrogen oxide by the Clark County Emergency Management Agency, was released from Blue Grass Chemical Specialties, according to New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan.

Blue Grass Chemical Specialties is in an industrial park on Industrial Boulevard off of I-265.

The yellow cloud was visible to drivers in the area for some time, but Gahan says the plant’s chemical engineer told him the smoke was “not harmful at these quantities.”

There was no fire or explosion at the plant, according to Gahan, and the smoke was due to a reaction that has since stopped.

Blue Grass Chemical Specialties told city leaders that it would be doing a root-cause analysis to determine how this happened and ensure it does not happen again, the city of New Albany said on Facebook.

The chemical release led officials at nearby Indiana University Southeast to order students and faculty to shelter in place. The order has since been lifted.

State, local, and county environmental management officials are monitoring the situation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nitrogen oxides are used in the production of nitric acid, which is a “colorless liquid with yellow or red fumes with an acrid odor” and can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membrane, as well as lung conditions and dental erosion.