I have looked into this for many years and have heard the rumors you can knock down that chlorine cloud and all you’ll have to deal with after that is the hydrochloric acid on the ground. Well, I guess it sounds good, but this is why I feel it is very important to establish a Research Team at EVERY hazardous materials incident.

The Research Team is where we get those important FACTS about chemicals that assist us on how to drive this incident. IDLH, vapor density, specific gravity, vapor pressure, solubility etc. Solubility (pg 93 H.R.) capable of dissolving in a solvent, or in our case water. According to the NIOSH guide, or any credible source you may want to use, the solubilty of chlorine is 0.7%. So it means it has some soluble aspects to it, however 0.7% in my book, is NOT enough to emphatically state that we can knock that cloud down and save the day, as a matter of fact, if you take the Festus MO, video and the amount produced there, you would be pissing in the wind! So David Burtch, I agree with you and the Chlorine Institute, you cannot knock down a chlorine cloud. Now can you move it, perhaps.

Using hose streams/master streams to move the cloud is a bit risky. You may put guys in a position that is not good. It could move around, cut off escape points etc. You will have product on the ground and spread out that will have to be dealt with, and you need A LOT of water. So is it worth it?

About The Author

Jeff Zientek is a 28-year veteran Fire Captain with the Phoenix Fire Department. He is the responding Safety Officer and responds to all hazardous materials, technical rescue incidents and all greater alarm fires, not only in Phoenix, but also the surrounding 27 other fire departments in the Phoenix automatic aid system, covering approximately 2000 square miles. Jeff is a trained Technical Rescue Technician, Hazardous Materials Technician, and helicopter Rescue Crew Chief and when not responding and working special operations incidents his responsibilities include; evaluation, purchasing and inventory of all the hazardous materials equipment used by the 6 Phoenix Hazmat Teams, assisting with continued education classes for the hazmat technicians in Phoenix and surrounding agencies, managing the helicopter rescue program by continued training of rescue Crew Chiefs, ground crews and coordination with the Phoenix Police Department rescue pilots. Jeff has been a member of Arizona Task Force 1 (AZTF-1) since 1995 and is currently responsible for maintaining the hazardous materials cache and equipment, along with training and continuing education of current hazmat members. In his time with FEMA he has been on deployments to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City, and the devastating hurricanes of 2005 in southern U.S. (Katrina/Rita). Jeff is also the author of the book “Hazmat Response: A Field Operations Guide” which gives 1st responders and Hazmat Technicians critical information for working a hazardous materials incident. Jeff is married, he and his wife Robin have 4 children and when not working, likes to explore Arizona on his road or mountain bike, trail run the numerous urban trails or hike the canyons throughout Arizona. You may also find him attending rock & roll concerts with his wife!

Have you taken the DOT quiz? Test your DOT Placard Knowledge

HazMat Front_cover_final_4-8-14.indd


  1. Excellent article! I’ve found this to be a useful place to start the discussion about solubility with my Hazmat Chemistry students. The links below are to a reading and activity that build on what is presented here. Enjoy!

    Randy Way

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: