Chemical Spill Clean Up Continues

Monday, June 5, 2017 @ 05:06 PM gHale

It could take extra days to contain and clean up a Thursday spill involving isomerate, a gasoline component, at a Shreveport, LA, refinery, officials said.

The Louisiana highway department has been asked to bring in barricades to keep closed the section of Jewella Avenue near the plant.

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Crews still were working late Thursday night to transfer the chemical out of the leaking tank and into another tank at Calumet Specialty Products Partners’ lubricants and wax refinery on Midway Avenue.

It is a “slow and steady process,” refinery spokesman Lyndon Johnson said. He had no estimate on when the transfer will be completed.

There were no injuries in the incident and there was no evacuation ordered in the neighboring community.

“We are basically trained to handle spills and releases,” said refinery spokesman Lyndon Johnson. “And we have our fire brigade engaged in this, and the Shreveport Fire Department engaged. We’ll take care of this as quickly as possible and as safe as possible.”

Authorities blocked off Jewella Avenue between Doris Street and Midway Avenue because Shreveport Fire Department has a water supply line across the road.

Meantime, the plant’s emergency response crews have been applying foam to minimize evaporation of the isomerate.

The plan was to start transferring the chemical from one tank to another starting at 5:30 p.m.

A leak was discovered about 10:30 a.m. Thursday in a tank on the west of the plant site. A Calumet spokesman said at least 90 barrels of the chemical spilled. It comes out as a mist and can create a vapor cloud. 

Crews have spent the day trying to minimize the vapor cloud, which is highly flammable. Plus, high vapor concentrations can irritate eyes and the respiratory tract and cause other health issues. 

“Our first priority is the safety of our employees and the local community,” said refinery manager Dan Yoder. “We have taken all necessary precautions to minimize risk to the public.

The appropriate government agencies have been notified about the spill, the company said.

Concentrated, prolonged or deliberate inhalation of isomerate, commonly known as a naphtha or petroleum naphtha, may cause brain or nervous system damage, according to the materials data sheet. The chemical also is a skin and eye irritant.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners processes crude oil and other materials into lubricants, solvents and waxes used in consumer, industrial and automotive products and produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The Indianapolis-based company has 13 facilities in Northwest Louisiana, northwest Wisconsin, northern Montana, western Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

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