PARKERSBURG - Area chemical plants have begun to resume normal operations after last week's storms disrupted power supplies.
Spokesmen for two plants said the power interruptions actually came at a good time.
Mike Bostaph, human resources manager at SABIC Innovative Plastics, said the plant was shutdown for annual maintenance.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
DuPont and other area chemical plants have begun to resume operations after the power outage.
"Could not have hit at any better time," he said. "We were scheduled to be down for the week so there was no adverse effect on the plant or to the environment."
Bostaph said they had generators on site for the scheduled power interruption.
"We intentionally took it down so we had the generators to operate the effluent process (waste water treatment) and there was no adverse effect."
Bostaph said the annual maintenance was scheduled to take place over two weeks.
Joy Frank-Collins, communications and public relations representative for Eramet Marietta, said the power failure came at a time that did not have an adverse effect on operations.
"If there was a good time for a power failure it was when we lost it Friday," she said.
"We just finished tapping furnaces and that means we open them and product comes out," she said. "If it had failed any other time, the product could have stayed in the furnace and it would have hardened and it would be difficult to remove."
Frank-Collins said the plant has procedures in place and they were followed.
"We have a number of procedures to follow in a situation like this," she said. "When we lost power we started going to procedures and followed them. We had backup generators that kicked on and continued to run critical processes."
Frank-Collins said they made sure everything in the plant was safe and got a good headcount. The plant made sure all was secure and generators were up and prepared.
Power was restored to the plant on Tuesday.
The individual utilities that power DuPont are being brought back on line, then the production processes will go back on, said Arnie Green, senior safety and security consultant for the Washington Works Plant.
"We're still working on establishing the basic infrastructure," he said.
A derecho, a severe and sustained line of storms, started in Indiana and went through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and other states toward the Atlantic Coast at about 6:45 p.m. locally. At one point immediately after the storm, all power was lost in Wood County, according to Monongahela Power.
Safety is the prime issue, said Robin Ollis-Stemple, external affairs manager at the local DuPont plant.
"It's not as simple as flipping a switch and turning the power back on," she said.
Many people and customers want to know, but no timetable has been set when production will restart, she said.
"We told our people we will start running when we're ready to run," Ollis-Stemple said.
The chemical plant is methodically restoring the basic services required for the plant to begin production, Green said.
"We're getting them up to the degree we're comfortable with that they are stabilized," he said.
DuPont learned from the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the Gulf Coast, he said. The company has ice and water available and generators to loan to employees, Green said.
Also, the company loaned a generator to the Parkersburg Utility Board and the Mineral Wells Public Service District, Green said. DuPont also assisted Kraton, he said.
Linde Gas, an air separation plant adjacent to DuPont, also is in the process of restarting a plant, said Manager Rob Morris. The plant lost power during the storm, he said.
Donnie Loubiere, manager of Orion Engineered Carbon, said the plant along Ohio 7 was without power until Sunday.
"There was no damage at the plant and we went back into production July 4," he said. "When the power went out we shut down to safe mode," he said. "We had generators to allow our systems to shut down to the safe mode and when power came back we were able to restart."