Calumet: Piping failure caused chemical release, issues apology

Published: Jun. 2, 2017 at 11:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2017 at 2:06 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Calumet says they've determined the cause of the chemical release on Thursday morning and issued an apology to residents in the community.

According to a statement released on Friday, the release was because of a piping failure. Samples of the pipe will be sent to a lab for analysis to determine why it failed.

"Our first priority was the safety of our employees and the local community," said Refinery Manager Dan Yoder, in the release. "We want to apologize to our neighbors, who were inconvenienced by the measures taken to protect the local community. We also want to sincerely thank all of the first-responders who provided support and assistance. We remain committed to determining the root cause of the piping failure and to taking appropriate action to protect against future incidents."

The leak was discovered at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Shreveport's Calumet Lubricants Company refinery located on Jewella Avenue. It happened on the west side of the refinery's campus.

The company says a total of 500 barrels of Isomerate were released.

Isomerate is a component of gasoline. The chemical can come out as a mist and create a vapor cloud. Concentrated, prolonged or deliberate inhalation of isomerate is commonly known as a naphtha or petroleum naphtha, may cause brain or nervous system damage, according to the materials data sheet. The chemical also is a skin and eye irritant.

According to the company, measures were taken to minimize the evaporation of Isomerate included both water mist and application of foam. Monitoring stations set up along the plant's fence line monitored the exposure levels of the hazardous materials. It was determined that not enough of the chemical was released to pose a threat to the community.

Authorities blocked off Jewella Avenue between Doris Street and Midway Avenue for Shreveport Fire Department crews to assist with clean up.

Calumet said that the released chemical has been cleaned up. The water used for the cleanup will be treated by the plant's onsite wastewater treatment system.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners processes crude oil and other materials into lubricants, solvents and waxes used in consumer, industrial and automotive products and produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The Indianapolis-based company has 13 facilities in Northwest Louisiana, northwest Wisconsin, northern Montana, western Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

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