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Thiel totes progress, but refinery cleanup is yet to be placed under control
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Fire officials say they've disposed of about 50% of a dangerous chemical at Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, which was shut down by an explosive fire in June. However, they're still not declaring the scene under control.

“I'm pleased to say that we've had a very good week,” said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

He says the job of neutralizing Hydroflouric Acid at the site, by adding a base to it, is nearly halfway done.

Thiel declined to predict how much longer it would take to complete the job.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
5 days ago by dchas
Community outreach 35 years after Bhopal
Shell Chemical is 7 years into a community liaison program for an ethylene cracker it began building a year and a half ago on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. New to the region, with the first petrochemical plant accessing ethane from the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve, Shell will be relying on community outreach know-how that the industry has garnered over decades. Some 200 mi (322 km) south, companies in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia, host to scores of chemical operations since World War I, have confronted the challenge of opening up to communities and organizing outreach since the 1980s. Shocked into taking action by the deadly 1984 accident at a chemical plant in Bhopal, India—a sister facility to one in West Virginia—companies in the region became pioneers in a global industry-improvement program called Responsible Care. In the 35th anniversary year of the Bhopal explosion, C&EN traveled to Pennsylvania and West Virginia to assess the current state of community relations in the chemical industry.
us_PA  industrial  discovery  environmental 
10 days ago by dchas
Workers begin disposing dangerous chemical at shutdown Philadelphia refinery
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Workers have begun the dangerous task of disposing of hydrofluoric acid at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, shut down since a disastrous fire in June. Officials predict the process will take weeks to complete.

Hydroflouric acid, or HF, is so toxic that a small splash of it on the skin can be fatal. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said workers in hazmat suits are combining a strong base with the acid to "neutralize" it.

"The resulting products can be dealt with here on the site. They can go into the permitted and regulated by DEP waste water treatment plant that's operated here on the site and DEP is maintaining very close oversight of that," he said. 
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  response  hydrofluoric_acid  waste 
13 days ago by dchas
Removing hydrofluoric acid from damaged refinery
WORK has begun on removing 30,000 bbl of modified hydrofluoric acid at the damaged Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery.

A fire on 21 June caused substantial damage at the refinery, and PES later announced that it would permanently close the oil refinery and file for bankruptcy. The fire destroyed a 30,000 bbl/d unit that used hydrofluoric acid (HF) to process refined products. The acid can burn though skin and bone and exposure can be fatal. HF can form a fog at room temperature that can travel for kilometres, and according to Reuters, workers activated an emergency system that emptied the acid into a protective vessel to prevent this from happening.

It is still not clear what method will be used to remove the acid in the emergency vessel. Engineer and activist Sally Hayati told Reuters that due the volume of the reserves, it would be difficult to neutralise the HF on site, and will likely have to be moved before it can be neutralised. The emergency container can only hold the amount of acid that was dumped into it and does not have additional room for neutralising chemicals.

Reuters also reported that PES was expected to report to government officials that some HF might have been released, but sources told Reuters that it was unclear how much HF may have been released and if the report would become available to the public.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
16 days ago by dchas
Exclusive: PES may report toxic chemical release in June refinery blast -sources
(Reuters) - Philadelphia Energy Solutions was expected to report to government officials on Friday that the toxic chemical hydrofluoric acid may have been released from its refinery in June, when a series of blasts and fire damaged the plant, two sources familiar with the plan said.

It was unclear how much of the chemical might have been released from the refinery or if the PES report would be made public, the sources said. PES officials were not immediately available for comment.

PES filed for bankruptcy on July 21 and is winding down the 335,000 barrel-per-day refinery with no scheduled restart after the fire. City, state and federal agencies are investigating the June 21 fire.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
19 days ago by dchas
Reading fire melts chemical containers at company on Front and Washington streets
Reading fire officials, the Berks County Hazmat Team and the Reading police bomb squad responded Wednesday to a fire at a business that develops and packages cosmetic products at Front and Washington streets.

City Fire Marshal Jeremy L. Searfoss was still on the scene at 9 p.m., when employees of a hazardous waste cleanup company wearing special suits with self-contained breathing equipment continued removing chemicals from the basement of the building.

A fire was discovered about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the basement of Cospro Development Corp., 101 N. Front St., across Washington Street from the R/C Reading Movies 11 & Imax cineplex.

Crews had most of the flames out within 20 minutes, but needed about 90 minutes before they could declare the fire under control, Chief William I. Stoudt Sr. said Tuesday.

Several hours later a second fire broke out in the ceiling tiles of the basement, prompting a second fire fight. Between the two fires, Searfoss said, containers of chemicals used to make cosmetics, shampoos and other beauty products melted and their contents leaked and comingled on the floor of the basement.

"The bomb squad came and removed a material called nitrocellulose, which is known to be extremely flammable," Searfoss said.
us_PA  industrial  fire  response  flammables 
21 days ago by dchas
Hazmat Crews Respond to Chemical Spill at Harborcreek Truck Stop
It's an active morning for hazardous materials crews and volunteer firefighters in eastern Erie County, as they deal with an overnight chemical spill at a local truck stop.

It all started shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday at the Travel Centers of America on the Depot Road exit on I-90 in Harborcreek.

Harborcreek volunteer firefighters were the first ones to get the call.

They found a double tractor trailer leaking some sort of chemical.
The first priority for these crews on scene in Harborcreek is figuring out exactly what the leaking chemical is, and whether it presents a public risk.
us_PA  transportation  release  response  unknown_chemical 
22 days ago by dchas
South Philly residents voice concerns over fumes after Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery explosion
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Some residents from South Philadelphia continue to say they are still being bothered by odors and fumes coming from the soon-to-be shuttered Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery.

At 24th and Passyunk Wednesday afternoon, about three-quarters of a mile from the plant, Danny Trignani said he and his wife were driving into the area today when both notice what smelled like a chemical solvent.
"It smelled like acetone, like nail polish remover," he said.

Others said while it is not a constant problem, they smell what appears to be petroleum fumes that can sting their eyes.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  response  acetone 
28 days ago by dchas
Oil refinery Philadelphia Energy declares bankruptcy after explosion, costing 1,000 workers jobs
Less than a month after an explosion Opens a New Window. rocked a South Philadelphia refinery Opens a New Window. , the company that owns it has filed for bankruptcy.

It’s the second such filing by Philadelphia Energy Solutions in less than two years. According to Reuters, 1,000 people who worked at the plant Opens a New Window. will be laid off.

The largest refinery on the East Coast burst into flames in late June after authorities said a butane vent malfunctioned. It took hours to tame the fire, which had residents sheltering in place for the better part of the morning.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
29 days ago by dchas
Extreme weather causes odor at PES refinery
Heavy rains and high temperatures shifted the lid of a 6 million gallon tank containing gasoline components at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery, according to a spokesperson for the company. The incident caused fumes to escape, prompting complaints from nearby South Philadelphia neighbors.

The refinery is in the process of winding down operations after a fiery explosion tore through the facility last month. The financially troubled company announced it would close the facility within days of the blaze. Crude oil refining operations are expected to halt next week, according to Reuters.

Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management sent an alert message through ReadyPhiladelphia to residents Wednesday afternoon telling them not to be alarmed by the fumes, and that odors may continue to be released as the shutdown continues.

But PES spokeswoman Cherice Corley said neighbors should not anticipate continued odors as a result of the closure.
us_PA  industrial  release  response  petroleum 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Refinery Explosions Raise New Warnings About Deadly Chemical
In the pre-dawn hours of June 21, explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia shook houses, sent fireballs into the air and woke up nearby residents.

"Three loud explosions, one after the other, boom, boom boom!" says David Masur, who lives about two miles from the plant and has two young kids. "It's a little nerve-wracking."

Masur watched as the refinery spewed black smoke above the city, easily visible from his home. But what he didn't know at the time was just how close he and his family came to getting exposed to hydrogen fluoride, one of the deadliest chemicals used by refiners and other industrial manufacturers.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions knows that's a possibility. Its worst case disaster scenario includes 143,262 pounds of hydrogen fluoride released over 10 minutes, which could travel as a toxic cloud for more than 7 miles and impact more than a million people, including in schools, homes, hospitals, prisons, playgrounds, parks and a wildlife sanctuary.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Allentown hazmat call sends 17 to hospital, prompts evacuations
A hazardous materials incident Wednesday afternoon at an Allentown business resulted in 12 employees being decontaminated at the scene and taken to the hospital, with another five who went to the hospital on their own, according to the city fire department.

"Typically we don't like when people do that," said fire Capt. John Christopher, the department's spokesman. "We'd rather decontaminate you before you walk into the emergency room."

None of the employees were showing symptoms of illness but were taken or transported themselves to Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township, for further evaluation, Christopher said.

The call came in about 1:30 p.m. for a chemical release at Spartan Brands, 1210 Sesqui Street off South 12th Street in Allentown.

Employees had noticed gases coming from a 5-gallon container of a dry powder used as a dye, Christopher said. The powder is known to react with water, and authorities believe humidity in the air may have gotten into the container.
us_PA  industrial  release  injury  dye 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Chemical fire in Rochester forces residents indoors
ROCHESTER — Some Beaver County residents spent a breezy, sunny morning indoors under a shelter alert Saturday after a chemical fire rekindled in Rochester. And emergency officials say the restrictions might not be done yet.

Residents in a five-mile radius of Rochester were advised to stay indoors for more than eight hours Friday night and again Saturday morning after a chemical fire at a former industrial site along the Ohio River. Rochester Fire Chief Michael Mamone III said six dumpsters adjacent to the site, which is part of a project overseen by the state Department of Environmental Protection, could cause additional chemical releases if the chlorine tablets inside spontaneously combust again.
us_pa  public  fire  response  waste  chlorine 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Residents Asked To Shelter In Place Due To Chlorine Gas Leak In Beaver County – CBS Pittsburgh
BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Residents in the Rochester area are asked to close all windows and doors due to a fire and chlorine gas leak in the area.

Beaver County 911 says the call came in around 9:00 p.m. near Beaver Valley Bowl on New York Avenue.

Multiple crews along with a hazmat team are responding to the scene.

Residents that live within a five mile radius of the Rochester Borough are asked to shelter in place.

Route 65 was shut down, but is now back open.
us_PA  industrial  fire  response  chlorine 
5 weeks ago by dchas
2 workers dead after being pulled from Aldan manhole
ALDAN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Two workers are dead after being found unresponsive in a Delaware County manhole.

The men, who were in their early 20s, were conducting a dye test in a manhole at West Rively and South Sycamore avenues in Aldan, but had to be pulled out in an emergency rescue after they were found unresponsive.

Ken Coppola, Aldan police chief, said during a press conference that two other men were working at the other end of the street, at West Magnolia and South Sycamore avenues. They lost contact with their coworkers a little after 11:30 a.m. and didn’t hear back from them.

When the two men went to check on their co-workers, they found them unconscious.

They immediately called 911. Emergency responders pulled the men from the 30-foot-deep manhole and declared them dead at the scene.
us_PA  industrial  release  death  unknown_chemical 
5 weeks ago by dchas
3 people hospitalized after chemical leak in Mt. Lebanon
Three people were taken to UPMC Mercy with minor inhalation irritation as a result of a sulfur dioxide leak in Mt. Lebanon.

An Allegheny County hazardous materials team was dispatched for a report of a smell Monday before 4 p.m. along Marlin Drive between Bower Hill Road and Jayson Avenue.

Mt. Lebanon police posted via Twitter that the odor was due to a leak from an old refrigerator, and a contractor and two firefighters were treated at the hospital.

Firefighters tweeted a short time later that the leak had been contained and there was no danger to the public.
us_PA  public  release  injury  sulfur_dioxide 
6 weeks ago by dchas
OIL AND GAS: Pa. refinery: Who will clean up decades of pollution? -- Monday, July 1, 2019 --
The explosions that destroyed part of the historic oil refinery on Philadelphia's south side have thrown a wrench into the ongoing effort to clean up decades' worth of soil and water pollution at the site.

Sunoco Inc., the plant's former owner, agreed to clean up the contamination in the early 2000s, and it agreed to continue that effort after it sold the operation to a partnership known as Philadelphia Energy Solutions in 2012.

The blasts on June 21 did so much damage that the new owners announced they'll likely close the refinery, the biggest on the East Coast (Greenwire, June 26).

That leaves city, state and federal officials to oversee what will likely become a two-track cleanup involving two different companies. For now, Sunoco's effort to clean up the historical pollution is on hold because of the fire and explosions.

Officials at EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were scrambling last week to figure out what responsibility Philadelphia Energy Solutions and other parties bear for environmental problems caused by the fire. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said the site is so unstable that its investigators haven't been able to inspect the damage (Greenwire, June 28).
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
7 weeks ago by dchas
Hazmat incident sends 4 people to the hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania
CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- A hazmat incident sends four people to the hospital on Wednesday night.

It happened around 7:30 p.m. at Wallingford Estates Apartments in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Authorities tell Action News four residents complaining of an ammonia odor were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Delaware County officials are continuing their investigation.
us_PA  public  release  injury  ammonia 
8 weeks ago by dchas
Philadelphia refinery that suffered huge explosion will shut down
The largest refinery on the East Coast is slated to close and be sold after a large explosion and fire almost a week ago devastated the Philadelphia complex.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions CEO Mark Smith said Wednesday that the company "made the difficult decision" to begin shutting down the facility, which is located directly within the city and near residential neighborhoods.

"While our teams include some of the most talented people in the industry, the recent fire at the refinery complex has made it impossible for us to continue operations," Smith added.
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
8 weeks ago by dchas
Philly refinery fire didn’t impact public health, officials say
Philadelphia, state and federal officials gathered Tuesday to assure city residents that the refinery explosion and fire that occurred Friday at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions complex did not result in any threats to the public health.

The city plans to form a working group that would include officials, residents, environmentalists, workers, and PES management to address issues at the plant. The city’s managing director Brian Abernathy said a public meeting will take place at the end of July.

“This incident sharpened a number of questions around the refinery,” Abernathy said. “Is the refinery safe? Does PES have appropriate measures in place to prevent a catastrophic failure? Was our response and the response of PES adequate and appropriate?”
us_PA  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
8 weeks ago by dchas

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