Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced Nov. 13 that the department has granted approval to Croda Inc. to resume ethylene oxide production at the company’s Atlas Point facility in New Castle.
Croda received DNREC approval by fulfilling its obligations to improve safety at the facility through actions required by DNREC’s accidental release program. DNREC issued its requirements after investigating the Nov. 25, 2018 accidental release of EO, the volatile chemical substance used in the manufacturing of Croda’s products.
Garvin ordered Croda to complete seven accidental release prevention action requirements before the department would approve the resumption of EO production at Croda’s new ethylene oxide plant. At DNREC’s direction, Croda completed an internal incident investigation report; a focused process hazard analysis of all EO release points; a fire water system hazard analysis; fire water system procedures training; fire department manifold connection to Croda’s fire water system supply tank; employee training for EO plant operation and emergency procedures; and a safety validation process — also known internally by Croda as the pre-startup safety review.
In addition to DNREC’s requirements, Croda installed automated purge and isolation valves, 26 additional fixed ethylene oxide gas detectors and eight additional closed circuit TV cameras, as well as upgraded its vapor suppression capabilities.
After coordination with DNREC and the New Castle County Office of Emergency Management, Croda also decided to install an emergency siren system to be used in conjunction with several other notification systems for alerting the public in the event of an accidental release by the facility. The system will be installed on or about Jan. 31, 2020.
Within a month of the Nov. 25, 2018 incident, DNREC, along with numerous state and local government agencies and Croda officials, held a public information meeting to review the incident and governmental agencies’ response. Other agencies included Delaware’s Department of Homeland Security, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, Division of Public Health, State Emergency Response Commission and the New Castle County Department of Public Safety and Local Emergency Planning Committee. DNREC also held a second public meeting in August with Croda to update the surrounding community on the required accidental release prevention actions and obtain additional community input.
After Croda established that it had met all of DNREC’s requirements, including resulting upgrades and safety improvements for both Croda employees and the community, Secretary Garvin announced today that the company could begin operating the ethylene oxide plant again at the Atlas Point facility.