Equistar Chemicals, LP was fined $12,841 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality last week, for four violations that occurred in 2007 and 2008.
According to information provided by the TCEQ, the violations were found during a records review conducted by the agency in the summer of 2008.
The first violation listed by the TCEQ was an unauthorized release of emissions over a nearly 8-hour period on Dec. 30, 2007. In that incident, an operator failed to close a valve, resulting in the release of 25.77 pounds of benzene, according to the report.
The second incident was an unauthorized emission release that occurred over a 10-hour period on April 25, 2008. In that incident, improperly installed wiring caused equipment to shut down, releasing 5,420 pounds of carbon monoxide, 8,500 pounds of ethylene, 1,244 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 586 pounds of propylene and 34 pounds of methylacetylene propadiene.
The third violation occurred during a 23-hour period on April 15, when a vendor contracted by the company failed to use a piece of equipment properly, resulting in a release of material.
The company was also found to be in violation of TCEQ guidelines for failing to report the December 2007 incident in a timely manner.
According to TCEQ documentation, a fine of $12,841 was assessed against the company. $2,568 of the fine was deferred because the company agreed to an expedited settlement with the agency. Half of the remaining $10,273 has been paid by the company, but the remainder has been placed on hold because of ongoing bankruptcy proceedings filed by the company in January 2009.
The TCEQ report also notes the company has implemented new training procedures and has installed new equipment to correct the violations.