Chemical Distributor Faces up to $576,000 in Penalties after Kansas City Explosion

Chemcentral, a Chicago-based distributor of industrial chemicals, faces combined fines of almost $576,000 from EPA, OSHA, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in the wake of a February explosion at its plant in the East Bottoms area of Kansas City. EPA Region 7 has proposed the largest percentage ($434,260) of the total penalty for failing to notify emergency responders that an "extremely hazardous" chemical was on site before the explosion and for failing to design and maintain a safe facility for its chemicals, federal officials said Tuesday.

Last week, OSHA proposed separate penalties of up to $126,000 for violations that endangered the lives of employees, such as failing to heed manufacturers' warnings regarding the storage and handling of polybutene, a fuel additive under the trade name Indopol used in sealants, coatings, lubricants, and adhesives. The Feb. 7 explosion destroyed East Bottoms plant and sent hundreds of thousands of gallons in chemicals up in smoke. Authorities say that polybutene being poured from one container to another sparked the incident. Two workers were injured.

EPA's complaint says Chemcentral violated the Clean Air Act by failing to report chemical hazards, specifically Indopol or polybutene, and that the company violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act by failing to submit a chemical inventory form for 2006 by March 1, 2007. Federal and state laws require that companies provide detailed information about the chemicals they handle and store. Under federal law, the complaint said, a company needs to file the reports about chemicals that could be considered an "extremely hazardous substance" with the local fire department, Local Emergency Planning Committee and State Emergency Response Commission. A list on file and available to emergency responders did not include Indopol, according to the EPA complaint. The updated inventory showed that Chemcentral had more than 10,000 pounds of Indopol on site at one time and failed to report it, the complaint said.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has sent Chemcentral a bill for $15,720 to recover the cost of the work its environmental emergency response team did. In addition, Chemcentral has agreed to enter the state's cooperative program. That means the company will conduct sampling of soil and water, clean up the site and pay expenses incurred by the Natural Resources Department for oversight of its work.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
TenCate FR Technology

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue