Industrial Safety / Preventive Maintenance

Philly chemical maker tries to keep flooded Texas plant from exploding

By Joseph N. DiStefano, for

Aug 30, 2017

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Arkema, the French chemical maker whose U.S. headquarters is in King of Prussia, last night posted a stern warning about deteriorating conditions at its flooded Crosby, Texas organic-peroxides plant. The Crosby works, identified by the Houston Chronicle and the University of Texas as one of the area plants most at risk for a dangerous release of chemicals in case of flood, prompting the evacuation of residents in a 1.5-mile radius area, according to local media.

The company shut the plant last Friday, Aug. 25, as Hurricane Harvey threatened to flood the Houston area and threaten its petrochemical plants. Since then an 11-member Arkema maintenance crew has struggled to keep electric power running to refrigeration equipment so Arkema can store its volatile gases cold, preventing them from spreading and exploding. But as power failed, Arkema began evacuating the complex with help from the Crosby city fire department, the Houston Chronicle reported here. At 6:50 pm. the company posted this statement. Excerpts:

“The facility has had extraordinary levels of rain, receiving approximately 40 inches by Monday afternoon. The site has been heavily flooded and without electric service since early Sunday morning. Back-up generators have largely been inundated with water. A small ride-out crew of eleven people had remained on site for some days."

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