PPG Industries is investigating two unrelated chemical spills in four days at one of its resin plants in Stowmarket, UK.
|Firefighters respond to one of two chemical leaks at a PPG resin plant in Stowmarket, UK.|
No one was injured in either incident, which occurred Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 at PPG Industries UK Ltd. PPG said the incidents were unrelated.
Cooling System Failure
The first incident occurred at 2:40 p.m. Jan. 12, when a mechanical failure in the water cooling system of a reactor vessel allowed solvent to leak into the system and resulted in a leak of a solvent and water mixture in the services building, said a PPG spokesman at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh.
A local UK newspaper said the leak amounted to “thousands of liters”; 1,000 liters is a little more than 264 gallons U.S.
PPG’s fire service responded immediately, while the site emergency response team, following standard procedures, activated a direct link call to the local fire department, PPG said.
The plant was evacuated, and firefighters used a blanket of foam to contain the leak.
Details were sketchier about the second incident, which occurred at 2:05 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 15). In that case, PPG said only that its emergency response team was again activated “following the detection of a leak of liquid phthalic anhydride (LPA),” a chemical used in making car paint.
As with the first incident, PPG’s team called the local fire department, and it responded.
PPG provided no additional details, saying that both investigations were continuing.
The local Bury Free Press reported that the fire department had called in police after the second incident to set up a cordon and go door to door, urging neighborhood residents to stay indoors and close all windows as a precaution.
Tony Carter, the manager of a nearby hotel and restaurant complex, said the fire department had closed the road after the second spill and had advised business owners “to stay indoors and to keep the doors and windows closed.”
“We have had ongoing discussions in the past about what should happen if there is an incident,” said Carter. “But the businesses in the area may have been better informed than the residents.”
PPG said both incidents were handled “quickly and in line with” the UK’s Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations.
The company added: “While regrettable, neither incident posed any threat to employees, the public, the local environment or the PPG facility.”
The company said it considered the health and safety of its employees, the public and the environment “its highest priority at all manufacturing sites.”
“Globally, PPG recognizes its responsibility to provide safe, healthful workplaces and to preserve and protect the global environment in which the company operates. To this end, we run our businesses using sound environment, health, safety and product stewardship practices, and we cooperate and communicate with the public and support the communities in which we operate.”