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ExxonMobil Chemical Plant (286), Baton Rouge

Releases of Toluene

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
87945

2006-05-18
tanks
Cause: They have five tanks that are releasing vapors. One tank is a floating roof tank that is malfunctioning. The other four have some sort of malfunction as well. They are investigating the cause.

Followup: No

Notes: Not sure if any releases will reach RQ
87811

2006-05-12
Product line from Isopropyl alcohol unit
Cause: A product line from the isopropyl alcohol unit in the chemical plant was leaking. Vapors were being released to the atmosphere.

Followup: No

Notes: ExxonMobil located the leak. They were trying to determine what options they had to stop the leak. Amount of chemicals released is unknown.
85116

2006-01-12
Pump seal on processing unit
Cause: While making rounds on the unit, Aromatics operations personnel discovered a pump seal leaking to concrete containment and to the sewer.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations shut down the pump and blocked it away from the process stopping the leak. The pump seal will be replaced.
3.0 pounds
93497

2007-01-25
Tower 101
Cause: Release was from the safety on Tower T101. It blew to drum D 106. That drum has a water seal on it that broke causing the vapors to release.

Followup: No

Notes: Exxon called SPOC to inform that they reached RQ for Benzene and Toluene was in the stream. Based on their data, they had no approached the flammable vapor RQ of 1000 lbs. The immediate area by the release had been evacuted internally. Caller stated at 4:39 pm an announcement of All Clear for evacuation and shelter in place was made. Air monitoring had started inside and was working towards perimeter. Airmatics is the name of the porcess unit. Just SPOC report.
20.0 pounds
109677

2008-09-01
Weather
Cause: As a result of Hurricane Gustav the Baton Rouge Resins Finishing Plant (BRFP) experienced significant facility damage and power interruptions that required operations to safely shutdown. Hurricane Gustav is clearly considered an "act of god." The Baton Rouge Resin Finishing Plant only had generators for electrical power to maintain a small number of instruments and critical pumps. There was no power available for the compressors that collect vent gases from storage tanks and route them to the site's flare. The seal leg on the flare seal drum prevented the relatively small breathing losses from reaching the flare for combustion. The flare pilots were extinguished during the storm but we have established the ability to relight it. However due to natural gas supply availability and the inability to route the vent streams to the flare tip we elected to allow the flare pilots to remain unlit until we restored power to the vapor recovery compressors. Power was restored to BRFP at 230 pm on 9/6/08 and the flare pilots were relit. All tanks that were venting to the atmosphere were routed to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to hurricane Gustav. Learning from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. BRFP was unable to complete some of the timing obligations due to Hurricane Gustav. It has prevented from meeting all the timing obligations of the required September monitoring. At the time the primary focus of mechanical resources was on storm related repairs to enable safe startup of unit operations. The plant was to accomplish the LDAR monitoring within the next 60 days. In addition, the availability of parts is also a difficult logistics problem so the focus was on their resources toward startup. BRFP was safely and systematically shutdown due to Hurricane Gustav. Learnings from this event will be incorporated into future hurricane preparations. .
2.0 pounds
109655

2008-09-01
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Unit
Flare
Storage Tank
Cause: 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.

Followup: Yes

Notes: BRCP was shutdown due to hurricane Gustav.
23.0 pounds
107618

2008-07-30
Heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA-2X
No information given.
Cause: Leakage occurred from a heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA-2X to the cooling water tower GFLA-1.

Followup: No

Notes: Release rates: benzene (14.4 lb/day), toluene (15.02 lb/day), napthalene (6.3 lb/day). CRO received report on 8/11/08. There were 22 daily RQ exceedances during 7/9/08 at 9 AM and 7/31/08 at 12:30 PM. Leakage from heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA 2-X to the cooling water tower GFLA-1 which is subject to monitoring program under Ethylene MACT. The leaking exchanger was blocked in to stop the leak. Leaking tubes were tp be repaired. The facility argued that the actual discovery of the leak was 7/22/08 when the sample analysis indicated a leak. They will be referred to enforcement for further action. Release quantities listed are an estimate using the rates given multiplied by 22 days.
330.4 pounds
107618

2008-07-30
Heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA-2X
No information given.
Cause: Leakage occurred from a heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA-2X to the cooling water tower GFLA-1.

Followup: No

Notes: Release rates: benzene (14.4 lb/day), toluene (15.02 lb/day), napthalene (6.3 lb/day). CRO received report on 8/11/08. There were 22 daily RQ exceedances during 7/9/08 at 9 AM and 7/31/08 at 12:30 PM. Leakage from heat exchanger LE-01 at OLA 2-X to the cooling water tower GFLA-1 which is subject to monitoring program under Ethylene MACT. The leaking exchanger was blocked in to stop the leak. Leaking tubes were tp be repaired. The facility argued that the actual discovery of the leak was 7/22/08 when the sample analysis indicated a leak. They will be referred to enforcement for further action. Release quantities listed are an estimate using the rates given multiplied by 22 days.
107433

2008-07-22

H furnace
Cause: Three events occurred within 24 hours of one another at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. Two are reported in this report (LDEQ #107433), the other is reported separately (LDEQ #107421). In this incident (107433), a furnace tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire. The tube leak occurred as a result of the incident described in report #107421. At approximately 5:56 PM on July 21, 2008, the charge gas compressor at the Olefins unit shut down when several processing cards in the gas turbine control system failed. When the compressor shut down, four furnaces automatically shut down and the gas in the furnaces was evacuated to the flare system. One of the remaining three furnaces was subsequently shut down while the remaining two furnaces continued to operated at 50% rates in order to maintain stable unit operations, which resulted in additional flaring for the duration of the event. The high rate of gas to the flare system resulted in the #25 flare smoking for 2 hours and 17 minutes. When the Olefins unit shut down, steam was introduced into the furnaces to displace the hydrocarbon feed to reduce flaring emissions. At 12:20 PM on July 22, 2008, while the H furnace was in the process of starting up, a leak was discovered in the convection section of the furnace. To stop the leak, water was introduced into the leaking pass of the furnace to displace the hydrocarbon feed. It is believed that the leak developed when steam was introduced into the furnace. Tube leaked into convection section of H-furnace and caught fire.

Followup: Yes

Notes: This incident is the result of the incident #107421 (see comments under that incident). Immediately after the incident began, five of the seven furnaces at the Olefins unit were shut down. Excess gas was sent to flare system. Water was introduced into the leaking furnace pass to displace the feed and prevent uncombusted hydrocarbons from leaking into the atmosphere. Concerning subsequent preventative actions, the failed processing cards were replaced. The H furnace was taken out of service to be inspected for leak location and repairs will be completed as necessary. Used water in the tube to eliminate the burning material. Flammable gass consisted of mainly Butane.
92.0
105211

2008-04-29
line leak at flange
Cause: They had a line that has leaked at a flange and is causing the release. They are isolating the line to stop the leak.

Followup: no

Notes: Benzene was released at .67 lbs/hr. Butadiene was released at .11 lbs/hr. Hydrocarbon gas was released at 18.77 lbs/hr. Styrene Monomer was released at 50.41 lbs/hr. Ethylbenzene was released at 30.16 lbs/hr. Toluene was released at 120.66 lbs/hr.
116431

2009-07-14
E206 Exchanger in the Aromatics Unit
Cause: Leak coming from the cooling tower. While backwashing the heat exchangers in the BHELA unit a hydrocarbon sheen was observed in the wash water indicating a leaking heat exchanger. The reason was internal corrosion and could not be anticipated.

Followup: No

Notes: Exchanger tubes will be repairs and replaced before putting back into service. Benzene release exceeded reportable quantities.
113772

2009-03-29
E506B exchanger
Exchanger 506B
Cause: In the Aromatics Unit during the preparation of an overhead condensor for mechanical work. Prior to the leak, steam was introduced to the exchanger to free the exchanger of hydrocarbon. When steam was introduced, the channel box gasket failed.

Followup: No

Notes: A gasket leak occurred on exchanger E 506 B. Most of the release went to the sewer and some may have evaportated into the air. Gasket was isolated and secured. During the preparation of an overhead condenser for mechanical work stem was introduced to the exchanger per procedure to free the BOCs but the gasket failed and released hydrocarbon on to the concrete pad. It was 60% benzene and all had evaporated. Estimated 44 lbs of total release (over RQ). Non preventable release.
29.0 pounds
113475

2009-03-18
control valve of HCE compressor
WILA tanks #8 and 9
Cause: The release was caused by the failure of a control valve downstream of the HCE compressor. The control valve downstream of the HCE compressor failed to close which caused the HCE compressor to trip off.

Followup:

Notes: Since there was no outlet for the vapor in the HCE system, the pressure built in the tanks until the pressure vents lifted, released hydrocarbon to the atmosphere. The back up hydrocarbon emissions control system which uses vacuum jets to recover the excess vapors was comissioned. Proper operation of the vacuum jets was confirmed shortly thereafter. The control valve and instrumentation will be repaired and inspected before being returned to servvice.
9.5 pounds
113260

2009-03-09

WILA tanks #8 and 9
Cause: The release was caused by the pumping of low flash material into WILA Tanks 8 and 9. The material evolved a greater amount of vapor than the tank's vapor recovery system could manage. The evolution of the vapor caused the pressure in the tanks to exceed that of the pressure vent set point.

Followup: No

Notes: Introduction of low flash point material into these tanks was immediately halted. They could not expect the flash material to evolve too much vapors. Tanks could not handle the vapors and valve lifted. Operators will be trained to communicate better to prevent the overpressure happening again. RQs exceeded for benzene. Total release of hydrocarbons is 600 pounds.
4.0 pounds
112825

2009-02-17
EPLA-W Compressor, flares #10, 25, and 26
Flares #10, 25, and 26
Cause: A fire resulted in a compressor shut down and material being flared from 10:30 pm - 11 pm. Around 10:30 pm the charge gas compressor (EPLA-W compressor) for the Olefins Maintrain furnaces tripped due to failed overspeed wiring. This occurred because of a small leak of lube oil from the steam driver which caught fire. This fire was small but close to the wiring which malfunctioned.

Followup: No

Notes: This incident is linked to incident #112824. The effluent gases were diverted to flares before the compressor could be repaired. Start up began around 8:45 pm on 2/18/09. Flaring during shut down through start up resulted in exceedances of RQs for ethylene, propylene, butadiene, nitric oxide, and sulfur dioxide. Also they had three compliance excursions from smoking of flares #10, #25, and #26. This was a non preventable incident from a malfunction. They are looking into preventing lube oil leaking and collecting near compressor wiring.
21.0 pounds
135181

2011-11-09
compressor KC-01
Cause: A combination release occurred due to a cracked pipe in the thermo well of the ethylene production unit.

Followup: Yes

Notes: An engineered clamp is being fabricated and will be installed to isolate the leak. Estimated 72 hours to install clamp and secure leak. Individually this event did not exceed the RQ for HRVOC, but in combination with another incident (#11-07037) the RQ for HRVOC was exceeded on Friday, November 11. Approximately 122 pounds of HRVOC's were released. On November 11, 2011 at approximately 13:51 Derek Reese stated the ongoing release subsided to 4.25 lbs/hr and was now below RQ. (still ongoing on report date 11/16/11) Area monitoring and LDEQ monitoring on the fenceline (including grab sample) did not detect anything. LDEQ did pick up .25ppb of Benzene. A total of 108 pounds per day of charge gas is being released as a result of this event. Cumulative emissions which include the total emissions from the incident and complete response, will be included in the follow-up report.
60.0 pounds
144539

2012-11-09
Flare gas system
Cause: A failure of the fuel gas control valve servomechanism actuator failed due to particulate matter in the hydraulic system, causing OLA-2X gas turbine to trip and material to be released to the Site's flare gas system.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Feed was removed from five of seven furnaces and the remaining two furnaces were operating at minimal rates in order to reduce the load on the flare system and emissions to the atmosphere. The hydraulic oil filters and servos were replaced upon discovery of the foulant. The hydraulic oil system was drained, cleaned, and charged with fresh oil in December 2012 to remove a suspected contaminate and particulates. ExxonMobil is conducting additional laboratory analysis of the lube oil at our lubes and specialities lab to determine if additional steps are needed to help prevent recurrence. In addition, improved filtration has been installed. A citizen complaint was recorded and given LDEQ incident number 144543. The complaint cites "Exxon release causing terrible odors, making the caller sick." The LDEQ report references this report, incident 144539 for information on the release. The reportable quantities for VOC, benzene, ethylene, propylene, isoprene, 1,3-butadiene, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide were exceeded as a result of this event.
141699

2012-08-01
Pump UFPU-150
Cause: On August 1, 2012 pump UFPU-150 was discovered leaking flare condensate to the concrete.

Followup: No

Notes: Due to the prompt incident response to mitigate the event duration, no reportable quantities were exceeded.
9.3 pounds
141729

2012-08-01
pump UKPU-100B
Cause: Pump UKPU-100B was discovered leaking flare condensate

Followup: No

Notes: Due to prompt incident response to mitigate the event duration, no reportable quantities were exceeded. Less than one pound of 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and toluene were released.
1.0 pounds
140470

2012-06-14
Tank 21 and Rain Basin 1
Cause: A failed bleeder plug was found at Tank 801 in the BRCP's Aromatics Tankfield. Approximately 411 barrels of steam cracked naptha reached the sewer system via this bleeder. All material was retained in waste water treatment facility. While the naphtha was being pumped to tanks #778, #26, #22 and #21, a rain event occurred, which overwhelmed the facility's ability to pump the liquid to the tanks. Therefore, the material was diverted to the Rain Basin I surface impoundment. Of the water pumped into the basin, there were 1,712 lbs of benzene and 419 lbs of toluene.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The water was to be pumped to the waste water treatment plant for treatment before being discharged to outfall 001. Firefighting foam was placed on top to reduce volatilized chemicals. Half the materials spilled were recovered. All values are based on the vaporized material and represents a very small amount of loss. The material is being pumped and moved to onsite storage to facilitate recovery and treatment of the material. All recovered liquid material is being placed in tanks 778, 21, 22, and 26, all of which are properly configured and permitted to store this material. On June 14, 2012, the site began the process of understanding the constituents of the steam cracked naptha that may have been released to the air by performing material balance calculations. During the first 24-48 hours of the incident response, the intial assumptions were that a majority of the material was being contained with minimal evaporative losses. Emissions reporting was based on the initial vaporization of material from the leak duration. Sample of the stored and liquid material were collected from multiple areas and storage facilities to help develop a more definitive material balance of the total steam cracked naptha released. As a precaution, at 1230pm on Jun 14, 2012, approximately 400 employees and contractors in the impacted areas of the complex were tested for potential exposure. ExxonMobil believes that none of these individuals will have any adverse impacts. The site conducted regular monitoring at the fence line every four hours and in three unit areas on an hourly basis during the incident response activites. All fence line readings remain below detection. ExxonMobil Industrial Hygiene personel continue to conduct air monitoring and are verifying safe conditions for areas were personnel are working. Fenceline monitoring will be conducted until the steam cracked naptha material in tank 21 and RB-1 have been treated through the Refinery Wastewater Treatment facilities. Firefighting foam was added to the sewer system every 1-2 hours to minimize the amount of evaporative losses. This foam did not impact wastewater treatment operations or capabilities in the quantities utilized during this incident.
13,081.0 pounds
140095

2012-05-28
Tank 784 Socks
Cause: Due to the degradation of the socks of the storage tank over time, there was a release of benzene.Tank 784 socks leaked 0.75 lb/hr of benzene. OSHA requires a Highly Hazardous Entry permit to go to the top of the tank and fix the problem.

Followup: No

Notes: On 5/29/12/ at approximately 17:00 hours, the socks on the benzene tank were replaced and the release was secured. In the initial report on 5/28/12, the refinery stated that it expected reportable quantity for benzene to be exceeded. However, in the follow-up letter on 5/31/12, the refinery stated that no reportable quantities were exceeded.