Archive

ShareThis Page
DuPont plant in Texas where toxic fumes killed 4 people has history of violations | TribLIVE.com
News

DuPont plant in Texas where toxic fumes killed 4 people has history of violations

The Associated Press

LA PORTE, Texas — State records show dozens of minor or moderate state environmental violations since 2009 at a Houston-area DuPont chemical plant where four people died from toxic fumes during the weekend.

The plant, however, which covers 600 acres along the Houston Ship Channel in LaPorte and has operated since 1956, has received a satisfactory rating from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, according to the agency’s records. The plant holds more than 150 environmental permits covering air, water and handling of hazardous material.

A team of investigators from the Chemical Safety Board began work at the plant Monday, two days after the four employees died in the release of methyl mercaptan — a chemical used in the manufacture of insecticide and fungicide, and used to provide odor to natural gas.

The toxic chemical, which is described as smelling like rotten eggs or rotten cabbage, causes eye and skin irritation, and rapidly affects the respiratory system.

It was not immediately clear what caused the chemical release.

“Our initial investigation plans are to examine the accident site, conduct initial interviews with witnesses, if any, as well as key operators and managers, and to request documentation on a range of relevant activities, such as maintenance histories of key equipment, training and work schedules,” Chemical Safety Board managing director Daniel Horowitz said.

DuPont said in a statement it is “working closely” with investigators and that the probe “will be extremely thorough and will take some time to complete.”

The state environmental agency records show instances of unauthorized emissions, improper equipment use, non-compliance with liquid waste rules and some paperwork violations. But records during the past five years show DuPont at La Porte, where about 320 people work, was not a repeat violator and achieved a satisfactory rating.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.