By Stephanie Thomas
Arkema Inc. knew about the risk of flooding at its Crosby facility.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which comes nearly a year after a fire and explosion at the facility injured twelve first responders.
Hurricane Harvey caused catastrophic flooding at Arkema Crosby, leading to the failure of backup generators and an explosion of organic peroxides on the premises.
The CSB report details the investigation and outlines best practices for future events. While the rainfall that occurred during Harvey was extraordinary, the report notes the rise in extreme weather events and Arkema’s location in the 100-year floodplain.
The report also finds that Arkema cannot claim ignorance of its precarious situation. A year before Harvey, Arkema’s insurer Factory Mutual Insurance Company (FM Global) notified the company of its flooding risk.
The CSB recommends more robust guidance to allow industry to better evaluate flood risks. The report also recommends that the EPA take more steps to limit risk from reactive hazards.
Chemical safety reform is needed to protect communities like Crosby. We shouldn’t be in harm’s way.