An investigation has been launched by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) after an incident in Texas that resulted in the release of hydrofluoric acid.
The team will be led by Donald Holmstrom, director of the CSB's Western Regional Office in Denver, and dispatched to the CITGO Corpus Christi, Texas, alkylation unit.
No injuries occurred at the site as a result of the leak of the chemical, due to the fact detectors at the location automatically set off water cannons as per the firm's emergency procedures.
It was noted in a statement by the CSB that a similar accident happened at the alkylation unit in June 2009, when hydrocarbons and hydrogen fluoride were released.
"As a result of the 2009 accident, CITGO reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that approximately 42,000 pounds of HF released from alkylation unit piping and equipment, but was captured by the HF water mitigation system," said the body, which pointed out an investigation into the incident by the CSB remains ongoing.
Chair of the CSB Rafael Moure-Eraso explained the new accident is going to be examined by Mr Holmstrom and his team "because of the toxic nature of hydrofluoric acid and the need to keep it contained, or to mitigate the consequences of a release", while he highlighted the fact around 50 of the refineries in the US continue to use HF in their alkylation units, a substance that requires a great deal of care in its handling.
Speaking to ABC News following the latest chemical leak at the Texas site, Janie Mumphord, who lives a short distance away from the plant, stated she fears not waking up in the morning as a result of the spillage.
Senator Patty Murray added HF is "toxic" and can be deadly to workers at facilities using the chemical, which also poses a risk to the wider community if it is released.
26th November 2012
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