Delaware Public Media

Croda plant where toxic gas leak occurred can restart, says DNREC

Nov 13, 2019

State environmental regulators are allowing a chemical manufacturer near New Castle to restart a plant where a toxic gas leak occurred last November. The company plans to install a community alarm, which neighbors have requested.

 

 

Nearly a year after an incorrect gasket caused more than a ton of toxic and highly flammable ethylene oxide to leak from Croda’s Atlas Point facility near New Castle, state environmental regulators are allowing the company to begin producing the gas again. 

The company stopped producing the gas on-site after the November incident. 

DNREC announced Wednesday the company had met requirements to restart its ethylene oxide plant, including hazards analyses, employee trainings and a safety inspection. The agency says Croda also installed additional gas detectors, automated valves and cameras. 

Nearby residents and environmental justice advocates have repeatedly raised concerns about emergency notifications to residents. 

Croda recently announced on its website it plans to install an audible community alarm, separate from its on-site alarms for employees, to alert the community in the event of future emergencies. This summer residents and an elected official had requested such a system before a restart. 

The company plans to install the community alarm around the end of January.

The company was cited with several violations in connection to the leak by both DNREC and OSHA. The Delaware Memorial Bridge was shut down for several hours the night of the leak.