Heater Unit Fails at Chem Plant

Friday, May 11, 2012 @ 12:05 PM gHale

A heater unit failed at the Shell Norco chemical plant in Louisiana forcing a portion of the facility to shut down Tuesday.

The fire and smoke flaring up was visible for up to 25 miles away, officials said.

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Fence line monitoring at ground level by Shell officials Tuesday and additional monitoring Wednesday by state environmental workers indicated no elevated levels of chemicals in the air, said Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Jean Kelly.

Several chemicals, including benzene, ethylene, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxide and propylene end up released in the incident, company officials said. But Shell Norco spokeswoman Emily Oberton saids there was no danger to the community.

Oberton said inclement weather caused the plant’s mechanical problems.

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