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Arkema evacuation zone lifted after hurricane disaster

By Jenny Eagle+

04-Sep-2017
Last updated on 04-Sep-2017 at 14:33 GMT2017-09-04T14:33:09Z

Arkema HQ is based in France.
Arkema HQ is based in France.

The US fire department has lifted a 1.5 mile evacuation zone around Arkema, Crosby plant in Texas.

The factory suffered two explosions last week after announcing the site was heavily flooded and left without electricity following Hurricane Harvey. 

Plastic resins

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ), was working with Michael Sims, Incident Commander, Crosby Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Bob Royall, of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office as part of efforts to control the fire at the facility.   

At this time, we are responding to a fire, not a chemical release,” EPA and TCEQ said in a statement.   

Our focus remains on the safety of those around the facility and we urge everyone in the area to follow the safety instruction of local authorities, specifically avoiding smoke and flood waters.   

We continue to monitor smoke and air quality, and the potential for additional fires in the area and have aerial assets ready to be deployed if any additional fires occur.   

We are all working together to ensure we have the right number, and the right people on the scene.  

Bioplastic packaging

The Texas plant produces liquid organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polyester reinforced fiberglass, and acrylic resins. 

Crosby said actions taken on Sunday, September 3, made it possible to neutralize the remaining trailer tanks containing the organic peroxides that could no longer be stored safely after the hurricane. 

"We want local residents to be aware that the product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains," Arkema said at the time. 

The firm makes bottle glass coating, bleaching and paper coating, films for multilayer packaging or additives for bioplastic packaging in food, among other industries. 

Federal and state mobile command is currently about 200 people, who are working elbow-to-elbow, starting in Corpus Christi and moving east with primary responsibility of the health and safety of those affected by hurricane Harvey,” the statement added.   

As we continue to respond to this natural disaster and its devastating effects on the people of Texas, the biggest threat to public health at this time is ensuring they have access to safe drinking water and ensuring waste water systems are being monitored, tested for safety and managed appropriately.

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