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Environmental agency cites Croda $250,000 for toxic gas release

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The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has assessed a $246,739 penalty on Croda, Inc., a chemical manufacturer based at the Atlas Point facility in New Castle.

The manufacturing facility released a plume of toxic gas (ethylene oxide) into the air on November 25, 2018, temporarily shutting down the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

The release was the result of a faulty gasket, which the company admitted had not been properly inspected.

The facility manufactures “surfactants” that promote the mixing of oil- and water-based ingredients in consumer products such as pharmaceuticals and shaving cream.

An investigation by Croda found that the release was due to the failure of a gasket made of unsuitable material for processing ethylene oxide at the plant. The accidental release resulted in 2,688 pounds of the highly flammable EO gas escaping into the environment.

A water deluge system, deployed by Croda to minimize the risk of ignition or explosion of the EO that was released, caused almost 700,000 gallons of deluge water to overflow a spill sump and to discharge into the ground and a wooded area behind the sump.

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