Skip to comments.Arkema Warns It Can’t Prevent Potential Chemical Explosion in Texas
Posted on 08/30/2017 8:42:01 PM PDT by Rockitz
Industrial chemical manufacturer Arkema said Wednesday it has no way to prevent a potentially large explosion and fire at its facility near Houston, after flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey.
The Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, some 25 miles northeast of Houston, was evacuated late Tuesday. Working with authorities, the company also urged everyone within a mile and a half of the plant to evacuate, and shut down a stretch of Highway 90 that runs alongside the plant, which produces organic peroxides for things like acrylic-based paint.
We have an unprecedented 6 feet of water throughout the plant, Arkemas North American operations Chief Executive Rich Rowe said in a teleconference Wednesday with reporters.
Mr. Rowe said that the plant lost primary power and two emergency backup power sources, which led to a shutdown of critical refrigeration needed for our materials. He said that means those materials could now explode and cause a subsequent and intense fire, and added that the high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it.
Mr. Rowe said about 300 people in all have been evacuated, but said it wasnt a mandatory evacuation, so hes not certain whether the 1.5-mile radius around the facility is currently devoid of people. He said it is mostly a rural area, so there are a limited number of homes within the area.
Mr. Rowe said local officials told him the water level in the area could actually continue to rise over the course of the next three to six days, and as such Arkema, which is based in France, believes the chemicals will start to degrade well before that happens.
(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...
And the formula for more water.
If peroxide mixes with that dirty water it will release large amounts of pure oxygen.
When it rains it pours!
Not sure why they did not go into a safe shutdown, it does take some time, but it could have been done before the power went out. So if they can’t go into a safe shutdown, who is approving their permits?
I was in Beaumont after Katrina, working on restoring the fiber optic cables in a refinery. They had experienced 9 feet of water in their computer room, so they were moving it up to the second floor. (”gee, why didn’t we think of that sooner?”)
Before we were allowed into the refinery we had to complete a safety course. There are so many chemical plants in the area that there was a regular “Safety Junior College” with a steady steam of ‘students’ (new employees) passing through. Very comprehensive program!
Once on the refinery we ‘newbies’ had to wear different color Nomex overalls to identify us. They take safety very seriously there!
Seems that there is no safe shutdown once refrigeration is gone, except removal of the chemical materials, which can't be done in this case. That stuff will explode, simply unsafe to go near it. Sometimes crap happens and nothing can be done to prevent it.
Um, what is the normal amount of water throughout the plant?
From my post on the earlier thread about this.
From Arkema at 5:55 EST:
Our Crosby facility makes organic peroxides, a family of compounds that are used in everything from making pharmaceuticals to construction materials. But organic peroxides may burn if not stored and handled under the right conditions. At Crosby, we prepared for what we recognized could be a worst case scenario. We had redundant contingency plans in place. Right now, we have an unprecedented 6 feet of water at the plant. We have lost primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we have lost critical refrigeration of the materials on site that could now explode and cause a subsequent intense fire. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it. We have evacuated our personnel for their own safety. The federal, state and local authorities were contacted a few days ago, and we are working very closely with them to manage this matter. They have ordered the surrounding community to be evacuated, too.
Theyve ordered evacuations within a 1.5 mile radius of the plant. Sounds like theyre just waiting for the fireworks to begin. The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it.
I wonder if the people who laughed at Noah were as unhappy with their backup systems ?
Area in any chemical plant or refinery should be dry. If not, plant blowdown system will be stopped up
So even a few inches of water would be "unprecedented?"
Those generators they’re talking about are huge. Thousands upon thousands of pounds.
Fox News reporting that it just blew - prayers going out to everyone impacted by this storm.
“(gee, why didnt we think of that sooner?)”
I was the engineering manager for an $80 million per year defense company. I wrote an extensive report to the President on potential calamities that could have put them out of business. (For example, they had only one paper copy of each drawing and no backup copies of their database.) I had a solution with costs for each one. The costs were miniscule in comparison to the potential disaster. The President poo-pood the whole thing and they were lucky in that none of those things happened before what finally did put them out of business; a single bad decision by the President.
The point is, if moving the IT room cost, say, $20,000 including down time, that money would come off his profit. That reduction in profit might trim a percent or two from his bonus. I had a boss once who cost the company about $200k to protect approximately $250 dollars on his bonus. The $200k was not his, but the $250 was his. It’s astonishing that people with a fiduciary responsibility to protect the business instead protect their own bonus.
Even if they had power were the refrigeration systems designed to work underwater? Most likely not.
YUP A bonus is a nice incentive but can lead to short-term decisions that hurt the company.
I had reservations about the out years of a new customer contract and the company president tells me not to worry because neither of us would be working there when the margin problems showed up.
Luckily a higher up at our parent company asked to see the deal and killed it
Now that is sad. "Penny wise (when it is MY penny) and pound foolish", right?
Too often, Integrity is a forgotten element of character which is ESSENTIAL to leadership. We, as a culture, have forgotten Integrity, Honor, Commitment.
We are paying the price for these omissions.
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