Dept of Environmental Quality issues new DEQ compliance orders against Williams Olefins

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has issued two new compliance orders against Williams Olefins over air and potential water releases stemming from a June 13 fire and explosion at its Ascension Parish facility in Geismar, as per The new compliance order dealing with air quality cites the Tulsa, Okla.-based company for at least 39 air permit or reporting violations starting in 2007 and extending to the day after the June blast. The explosion sent a fireball high in the air seconds after a 200-foot-high vapor cloud was emitted from the facility, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board officials testified to Congress last week. Two men were fatally burned and 114 people were injured. The independent federal agency is one of several state and federal entities probing the fire, whose cause remains unknown. But investigators and the company have focused on the company’s shattered propylene fractionator as a possible point of origin. The machinery uses heat to refine polymer-grade propylene used in consumer plastics. The blast occurred when Williams was conducting planned maintenance and finishing a 600 mln lb pa expansion of its olefins operation. Separately, DEQ has issued another compliance order over contaminated water that ended up in a pond on site that is usually pumped into the Mississippi River. That order, issued June 19, puts water quality limits on future discharges from the pond. The other new compliance order, the third and most extensive order involving air quality against Williams since 2007, includes three air permit violations from the fire and massive explosion.
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