Explosions at Flooded Houston Area Chemical Plant
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
At 2:00AM on August 31, Arkema Inc.’s Crosby, Texas plant was rocked by two explosions. It’s located 25 miles northeast of Houston.
The company’s web site said “unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site. Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperature.”
They’re “extremely flammable.” The “threat of additional explosions remains.”
A 1.5 mile evacuation zone in place before the explosions is woefully inadequate. It’s unclear how serious a situation may develop. Shades of Bhopal? Unlikely but who can know so far.
“The plant is surrounded by water so we don’t anticipate the fire (following explosions) going anywhere,” according to Harris County fire marshal spokeswoman Rachel Moreno.
The area is home to one of the largest concentrations of refineries, pipelines and chemical plants in the country. Other facilities could be vulnerable to explosions or other storm-related incidents.
Harris County’s 4.6 million people are potentially endangered, including from huge amounts of toxins released into the air and water, turning the area into a dangerously polluted swamp – affected locations hazardous to human health.
Because it produces toxic chemicals and flammable gas, Arkema’s risk management plan submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency said potentially 1.1 million area residents could be affected over a distance of 23 miles in a worse case scenario.
Though not likely at this stage, explosions or other incidents releasing large volumes of toxins into the air and water pose a major health hazard to residents in affected areas.
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