Corda Inc. Fined nearly $250,000 after gas leak on Nov 25th

Corda Inc, situated in Newcastle off of Route 9 & next to the Delaware Memorial Bridge faces a $246,739 Fine after a gas leak on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving which halted traffic for seven hours.

Delaware environmental regulators found the company at fault for the release of more than 2,600 pounds of ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen that is also flammable and explosive.

The company also reimbursed Delaware River & Bay Authroity nearly $150,000 in loss tolls. This was done in fear of people inhaling the gas, neighborhoods close by were also notified of this via “reverse 911” call to stay inside.

The leak was caused by a failed gasket, which the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said failed because it was made of unsuitable material for processing of ethylene oxide.

Croda uses ethylene oxide to make surfactants and emulsifiers, chemicals industrial customers use to create liquids that combine mixtures that otherwise would separate, like face creams and cosmetics. 

Croda had been using the chemical at the plant along the Delaware River for years, but had just recently started manufacturing the chemical on-site.

"Once we satisfy the other actions prescribed by DNREC for approval to restart, and both we and DNREC agree it is once again safe to operate the EO plant, the Croda team will resume the production of EO," said company spokeswoman Cara Eaton in an email.

Aside from the monetary penalty, the settlement order also includes a "comprehensive sampling plan, to confirm there are no environmental effects from this incident," Eaton said.

DNREC said in the order announced on Thursday that nearly 700,000 gallons of deluge water, which was used during the response to suppress the chemical and reduce the risk of ignition, also was released into the ground and a wooded area nearby a sump that overflowed.

The order directs Croda, which DNREC has cited for "improper maintenance and operation of the Atlas Point facility," to set up a plan for monitoring and remediation where that water overflowed.

"That risk was minimized in large part thanks to our response systems and the amazing work of first responders the night of the incident," Eaton said in an email.

Soil borings and a monitoring well will gather data on any chemical pollution from the ethylene oxide leak and resulting contaminated water overflow.

According to the order, a draft soil and water evaluation has already been received by environmental regulators. A final report is due to DNREC's Site Investigation and Restoration Section in 15 days.

Source -Delaware Online

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