First Chemical fined for Pascagoula explosion - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

First Chemical fined for Pascagoula explosion

By WLOX Staff

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - First Chemical Corp has agreed  to pay $731,000 in civil penalties to the federal government. The fine is the result of a settlement of a Clean Air Act violation claim stemming from an explosion at the Pascagoula plant back in October 2002.   

The claim said that 1,200 pounds of a extremely hazardous chemical were released during the blast and that company failed to meet the general duty requirement.   

In a statement, First Chemical said since the time of the incident DuPont has acquired the Pascagoula site, and implemented safeguards and process safety systems to prevent such an incident from happening again.   

In addition, the company said it has worked with the Chemical Safety Board to share what it has learned from this incident to help prevent similar incidents at other chemical plants worldwide.    

Here's the complete statement from James Freeman, First Chemical's Site Manager:

The fine is associated with a serious incident that occurred in the Mononitrotouene Distillation column in October, 2002. At the time of the incident the site was not owned or operated by DuPont.

There were no serious injuries that occurred during the incident. Monitoring that occurred at the time of the incident determined that there was no environmental impact.

Since DuPont acquired the site, process safety experts implemented safeguards and process safety systems across the entire site to prevent future occurrence of similar incidents. The site has participated in a third-party audit to verify that the improvements we made are effectively in place.

No serious incidents have occurred at the site in the six and a half years since the incident. We have worked with the Chemical Safety Board to share learnings from the incident to help prevent similar incidents at other chemical plants worldwide.

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