Gasket Caused Chem Leak that Shut DE Bridge

Monday, December 3, 2018 @ 11:12 AM gHale

An incorrect gasket fitted on a pipe during construction of Croda Inc.’s new bio-ethanol plant was the cause of a gas leak that shut down the Delaware Memorial Bridge on the Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday, company officials said.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge ended up shut down for eight hours on Sunday night during the busy Thanksgiving Day weekend as government officials assessed the situation.

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Croda said it will not manufacture ethylene oxide (EO) until the company and state officials “are confident that the plant can resume safe operations.”

“We are sending this gasket to independent experts for analysis and confirmation,” Croda officials said in a statement. “Our findings show that no other damage occurred to the ethylene oxide plant.”

With the leak, there were two main threats: There were people nearby who could have inhaled the ethylene oxide, and, the EO could have caught on fire and spread to the vehicles on the nearby interstate, said Shawn Garvin, secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Croda officials also said they will conduct a “systematic review of all other equipment on the ethylene oxide plant pipework,” a process that is expected to take about two weeks.

“We are committed to understanding what went wrong, so we can prevent such an incident happening again,” the company said.

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