DuPont refinery leaks toxic chemical sending workers to the hospital

DuPont refinery leaks toxic chemical sending workers to the hospital

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has confirmed that the Dupont refinery located on Twin City Highway reported a chemical leak this morning (Nov. 3) at 10:25, indicating that 1,000 pounds of aniline were released, but that the leak has since been stopped and that section of the plant has been both evacuated and shut down, according to Heather Feldman, executive director for the Beaumont branch of the TCEQ.

Feldman said that a STEERS report, which is due within 24 hours and is a initial assessment of what caused the leak, has not been completed as of yet but the plant still has time to complete it. Feldman said the initial report made at 10:25 this morning did not indicate any injuries to any personnel or that any ambulances or medical personnel were necessary.

However, according to a source with knowledge of this morning's leak, workers who were sprayed by the toxic chemical, which can cause death if oversaturated by it according to the chemical's listing in the material safety data sheet, were taken by bus to Tower Medical. The source also said that medical personnel were indeed on-site at the plant tending to those who were sprayed by the chemical. There are also reports that the parking lot outside of the plant was sprayed with aniline, and there are workers in white hazmat suits canvassing the parking lot. 

Both entries to the plant and complex have limited access. 

DuPont Operations Public Affairs Regional Manager Aaron H. Woods released a statement shortly after noon as to the company's version of the morning events. According to him, "At approximately 8:30 a.m. today (Nov. 3), the DuPont Beaumont site experienced an event resulting in a release of liquid aniline. At this time, there have been no reported injuries. There were 26 plant workers evaluated by the site physician and released.

"During a plant start-up, a release of liquid aniline occurred through a safety relief valve.

"DuPont is ensuring the safety and well being of all site workers and has safely shut down the aniline unit, as well as required a site shelter-in-place. There are no impacts to the community, as the release was confined to the site. The company has notified all appropriate regulatory agencies.

"That is all the information we have at this time."   

Stay with The Examiner as more information becomes available.