Kraton contains solvent leak

BELPRE – A process solvent Sunday night leaked and was contained at Kraton where officials sounded the alert system, a Kraton spokesman said.

The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. when an employee tightening a gauge on a pump broke part of the pipe where the gauge went into, plant spokesman Mike White said. White called the release minor.

About 20 gallons of the solvent, cyclohexane, leaked from the pipe, but went into the in-plant water treatment center, White said. Nothing leaked off-plant as all 20 gallons were contained on site, he said.

The in-plant treatment system is not part of the retention pond that flows into Davis Creek or the Ohio River and there was no impact to the community or fish, White said.

The incident is the third release at the plant since Jan. 9 when diethyl ether and cyclohexane, both used to cool equipment, leaked into Davis Creek. A second leak occurred the next morning.

Both were attributed to cold weather, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said only one of 27 river samples showed a detectable level of one of the chemicals, diethyl ether, at an amount of 72 parts per billion A toxicologist with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said that was not high enough to pose a health risk to humans.

White said the plant alarm was sounded at 11:30 p.m., standard operating procedure, and local volunteer fire departments were contacted. The all-clear was sounded around 1 a.m., he said.

“Unfortunately, this has been our third incident within the last two weeks. There should be no misunderstanding that we are committed to the safety of employees, contractors and this community and our environment,” White said. “This is the foundation under which we do all things and that will not change.”