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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #109655
State Police #08-05423
Accident Date2008-09-01
Report Date 2008-09-08
Follow-up Date 2008-11-11
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Nitrogen Oxide13h 10mFlareNOYESYES1,342.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide13h 10mFlareNOYESYES149.1 pounds
Benzene13h 10mFlareNONOYES88.0 pounds
1,3-Butadiene13h 10mFlareNONOYES79.0 pounds
Ethylene13h 10mFlareNONOYES1,169.0 pounds
Propylene13h 10mFlareNONOYES6,915.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)13h 10mFlareNONOYES12,612.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)7dStorage TankNONOYES5,054.0 pounds
Benzene7dStorage TankNONOYES166.0 pounds
Cumene7dStorage TankNONOYES12.8 pounds
n-Hexane7dStorage TankNONONO406.0 pounds
Styrene7dStorage TankNONONO19.3 pounds
Toluene7dStorage TankNONONO23.0 pounds
Xylene7dStorage TankNONONO13.0 pounds
Methyl Ethyl Ketone7dStorage TankNONOYES1.8 pounds
WastewaterNo Information GivenAdvanced Wastewater Treatment UnitNONONO1,300.0 gallons

Accident Classified As: Below Reportable Quantity (BRQ)

Cause of Problem: Power Failure

BRCP Flaring During Shutdown: On September 1, the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant began to safely shutdown operations due to power failures associated with Hurricane Gustav. During shutdown, excess gases were vented to the flare system in order to reduce emissions to the atmosphere. Baton Rouge Turbine Generator NOx steam trip: ExxonMobil experienced difficulty providing NOx suppression steam for our BRTG. Condensate is required to desuperheat the NOx suppression steam prior to using it in the BRTG. The normal condensate supply from operating units to provide desuperheater water is unavailable as these units are down. Temporary demin trailers were used to help provide an interim source of condensate to mitigate the loss of NOx suppression steam, but were unable to continuously supply the condensate for NOx steam to BRTG. Nitrogen blanketing for tanks on vapor recovery: The lack of nitrogen availability has also created a temporary loss of nitrogen blanketing for storage tanks on vapor recovery. Loss of nitrogen blanketing means that air will be pulled into the tank which is unacceptable from a hazard risk standpoint. The tanks without nitrogen blanketing must be blocked away from vapor recovery because it is unsafe to vent oxygen to a fuel gas or flare gas system due to the potential of creating an explosive mixture. Exxon shut down the vapor recovery controls when the site lost nitrogen. Once nitrogen is restored, Exxon will restart vapor recovery systems. Once normal operations are resumed, Exxon will report total excess emissions and duration of vapor recovery outages for affected tanks. Two hatches found open: Two tank hatches were found open after the hurricane was over. These tank hatches were blown open when wind speeds were highest (>90 mph) during the hurricane. Tank hatches must remain closed to prevent emissions; as such, these incidents are considered bypassing of a control device. The estimated emissions from these open tank hatches are below RQ amounts. AWT overflow to Monte Sano Bayou: The separator at the Advanced Wastewater Treatment unit overflowed to the Monte Sano Bayou. The incident occurred when the pumps lost power and could not pump down the level in the separator. Approximately 1300 gallons of untreated wastewater was discharged in to the bayou. Power to the pumps was restored and the level in the separator was pumped down to stop the overflow to the bayou. The composition of the discharged wastewater is unknown at this time due to a disruption in laboratory samples as a result of the hurricane.

Discharge Preventable - No

The incidents occurred/may occur as a result of Hurricane Gustav and the subsequent shutdown of the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. Hurricane planning procedures were followed to prepare the complex to the greatest extent possible for the effects of the hurricane. The complex was shutdown to avoid further impacts of the environment.

Notes/Remedial Actions

BRCP was shutdown due to hurricane Gustav.