Chemical Incident Reporting – Week of 3-25-23
Long-time readers of this blog will understand that I have
been talking about chemical incidents almost from the inception of this blog.
Most often I have taken the news reports of a recent incident as a starting
point for a discussion about some chemical safety issue. Recently, however, I
have been more frequently looking at reports of chemical incidents in relationship
to whether or not they could/should be CSB chemical release reporting
incidents. This has expanded the number of incidents that I write about. To
save some time and space (and avoid looking preachy), I am going to start to
consolidate those CSB reporting posts into weekly posts.
When the Chemical Safety Board was authorized, Congress
envisioned that they would issue early regulations requiring reporting of
serious chemical incidents. While bureaucratic inertia may have played a role,
the CSB avoided issuing those regulations, ostensibly to avoid the stigma of
being a regulatory agency instead of a cooperative fact-finding organization.
Under court order to comply with the congressional regulation mandate, the CSB
finally completed their reporting
rule in February 2020.
The CSB has been diligent in sharing bare bones information
about the incidents that have been reported to the Board since the reporting
rule’s inception. As of January
23rd, 2023 (they report roughly quarterly), 231 serious chemical
incidents have been reported to the Board. Almost all of those incidents have
been reported by organizations in the chemical manufacturing industry. Unfortunately,
chemical incidents occur at a much wider variety of facilities than just
chemical manufacturers, and many of those incidents also fall under the CSB
reporting requirements. And the CSB’s universe of incidents of concern should
(and legally does) also include those incidents. But, most of those incidents
go unreported to CSB because the facility owners are unaware of their reporting
Thus, my gadfly responsibility kicks in.
One final background note, some older incidents are included
because I did not become aware of them until this week. I will be using that
criteria in future posts as well. The whole point of this blog is tracking chemical release incidents, not news reporting. On that note, if any readers see a local news report about a chemical release incident please let me know at PJCoyle@aol.com.
Pasadena, TX 3-22-23
News reports: Here,
Explosion and fire during transfer of liquified natural gas
(LNG) from tanker to storage tank. One person was hospitalized.
Philadelphia, PA, 3-24-23
News report here.
Pipe rupture leading to release of 81,000 gallons of latex
solution into Delaware River tributary. Concerns of possible contamination of
drinking water downstream.
CSB reportable, only if you count downstream response costs
in the economic damage of the incident.
Belle Glade, FL, 3-29-23
News report here.
Unquantified chlorine dioxide release at produce processing
facility. Nine people were hospitalized.