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

Croda, Inc.

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 concernsabout 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 requestedsuch 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 DNRECand OSHA. The Delaware Memorial Bridge was shut down for several hours the night of the leak.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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