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Valero (26003), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #129748
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #11-01273
Accident Date2011-03-06
Report Date 2011-03-11
Follow-up Date 0000-00-00
Follow-up: No

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Hydrogen Sulfide93hCCU FlangeNONONO30.0 pounds

Accident Classified As: No Information Given

Cause of Problem: Human Factors

On 3/6/11 at approximately 6:04pm, Mr. Charles Knock of Valero made notification that two contract employees working in the catalytic cracking unit (CCU) during maintenance availability had been exposed to hydrogen sulfide. In addition to the exposure, contractors also sustained other injuries related to falling and were hospitalized. Trooper Sparks met with Valero representatives on the day of the incident. State Police and Occupational, Safety, and Health Administration (OSHA) officials have met with Valero representatives as part of the ongoing investigation into the cause of this event. It appears that the contractors were exposed to hydrogen sulfide escaping from an improperly installed blind during steaming of the line.

Discharge Preventable - Under Investigation

Under Investigation.

Notes/Remedial Actions

The discharge was detected at 3/6/11 at 3:00pm. Affected workers were transported to area hospitals at approximately 3:35 pm. The leaking piping system was secured approximately 93 hours later and during that time no appreciable quantities of hydrogen sulfide were measured. Hydrogen sulfide dispersed into the atmosphere. Measured hydrogen sulfide in the vicinity of the incident revealed that the concentrations in the air were substantially dissipated prior to leaving the process unit and posed no threat to the public. Work in the immediate area was stopped while an investigation was conducted to identify the source of the hydrogen sulfide. When the source was identified, he defectively installed blind was replaced under observation by the State Police. Monitoring was conducted to confirm that the replacement blind was not leaking. Measures to prevent recurrence will be identified as part of a pending investigation. There were two injuries from this incident, one of which resulted in a fatality. State officials are investigating the fatality to determine the cause of death. The second injured person was treated at an area hospital and released.