Chemical accident reports after Tropical Storm Lee

Compiled by LABB staff

This report was compiled using reports submitted to the National Response Center. Responsible parties are required to notify the NRC within 24 hours of a chemical release, though the NRC also accepts unverified reports from bystanders. NRC reports rarely include specific details of accidents, the amount of material(s) released or follow-up information. Despite these limitations, NRC reports still represent one of the only ways the public can access timely information about accidents involving hazardous materials.

You can find more information about NRC reports here. Also, read a press release LABB sent out Sept. 8 about these accidents.

From Friday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 5, the National Response Center received 24 calls from responsible parties in Louisiana, including refineries and petrochemical facilities. These reports included 13 onshore and 11 offshore accidents.  Materials released during these 24 incidents included diesel fuel, crude oil, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen sulfide, propylene and K106 waste (wastewater treatment sludge).

Thirteen reports named Tropical Storm Lee or severe weather as the cause, including two accidents involving oil spills due to heavy rain at ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge on Sept. 3.

Over the weekend, there were seven reports from Louisiana refineries. There were four refinery accidents involving flaring, two of which occurred at ConocoPhillips refinery in Belle Chasse. The additional six onshore reports came from various petrochemical and industrial facilities.

The 11 offshore incidents included a report from Moncla Well Service of an overturned barge rig with personnel onboard, releasing diesel fuel from a leaking 800-gallon tank. Seven of the 11 reports involved crude oil spills. Four reports gave no information regarding the amount of oil, while the remaining three gave estimated amounts totaling over two barrels.

It is worth noting that prior to severe weather advisories, such as Tropical Storm Lee, many companies evacuate personnel and shut down offshore oil rigs and platforms as well as selected onshore facilities. The lack of on-site personnel to witness and report chemical accidents may affect the number of reports received by the NRC during severe weather events.

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