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Formosa Plastics (288), Baton Rouge

Causal Factor: Process Upset

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release

Incinerator A (Emission Pt. No. 203) and Incinerator B (Emission Pt. No. 204)
Cause: Wastewater pump discharge was intermittently backing into caustic scrubber recirculation lines as a result of differential pressure.

Followup: Yes

Notes: A skillet blind was inserted in the line near the suspected leaking valve to Incinerator B to protect against potential leak. The applicable pump-down procedure was modified/improved. A check valve was installed in the affected level control blowdown line to prevent liquid backup. The refinery submitted and received a revised permit for the affected sources, which it says better accounts for hourly maximum emission rates, on August 11, 2006. LABB's file only contains the letter dated 11/7/2006 and no LDEQ report, SPOC report, etc.
Vinyl Chloride: 1.6 pounds

Vinyl column
Cause: Upset in the vinyl column which caused the incinerator to trip and the three hour average of VCM from the stak exceeded (170 ppm reading in the stack monitor).

Followup: No

Notes: Release secured at this time. Release was less than reportable quantity.


Cause: Facility personnel stated that they are in the process of decompressing the pipe. Water spray used to control the vapors. A release occurred when a 3/4" diameter section of piping failed. The most likely mode of failure at this time is believed to be shear induced by vibration/stress fatigue. Vibrational and/or other stresses at the point of failure, exacerbated by the mass of a recently installed and engineered leak mitigation clamp, are thought to be the precipitating factors in this incident.

Followup: No

Notes: Actions were taken to identify and isolate the release source and affected equipment. Water spray systems were also activated to suppress, disperse, and control vapors. Actions planned to prevent recurrence include communication of this incident to the third party specialty repair contractor to establish further protocols for use of engineered clamps on future repairs of this type, with an emphasis on minimizing impacts from stress points from this type of configuration.
Vinyl Chloride: 3,001.0 pounds

1/2 inch valve from V2000 C
Cause: 1/2 inch flow transmitted from V2000 C starting leakin from a 1/2 inch valve resulting in the release of unknown quantities of ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, and a hydrochloric acid mixture.

Followup: No

Notes: The valve was isolated to stop the leak. Amount of ethylene dichloride, hydrochloric acid mixture, and ethylene dichloride released is unknown but below reportable quantity.


Isolation block valve for the RV-C204-2, column NC204
Cause: The isolation valve for the RV-C204-2 leaked through from the NC204 column.

Followup: No

Notes: The only way to repair the problem was to isolate and shut down the column.


Utilities Unit, EPS
Cause: The refinery's natural gas supplier over-pressured the natural gas supply pipeline coming into the plant. This caused a pressure relief valve on the pipeline to active and release the natural gas, and the resulting hissing/whistling noise attracted the attention of operations personnel.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The relief valve automatically closed as designed once the excess pressure relieved.
Natural Gas: 1,539.6 pounds