A leak was reported on Monday, Jan. 13, at the TPC Group Port Neches Operations. The facility began the de-inventory process last week to further secure the site and safely transfer all remaining materials. Based on successful mechanical integrity inspections of tanks and equipment, the company initiated the flow of materials from tanks for barge loading. “Finished” or high purity 1,3 butadiene was prioritized for first transfer and is underway. The transfer of lower purity 1,3 butadiene will commence next, followed by raffinate, polyblend and other process materials. It will take several weeks to complete the transfer of materials from the site.
As tanks containing materials are evaluated, materials in the tanks are prioritized for transfer and a method is identified. The site has rail, barge and pipeline capability to transfer materials. Determining which mode is used to transfer materials offsite is part of the evaluation. Tank evaluations and inspections are an ongoing process and no tanks are de-inventoried unless deemed operationally safe for the process. Flaring activities at the dock continue to support these efforts. Occasional elevated air measurements may register on site as response teams continue to secure the site.
At approximately 1:10 p.m., a leak was identified inside the fence line of TPC Group Port Neches Operations. Air monitoring teams were activated and the plant alarm was sounded. The leak resulted in elevated levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) being detected within the fence line. The source of the leak was identified and quickly mitigated. An all clear was issued at approximately 2:05 p.m.
With oversight by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, TPC Group continues to conduct air monitoring and air sampling activities onsite and in the community. Samples collected in the community continue to confirm no actionable levels of butadiene.