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Federal Environmental Complaint Filed in ChemCentral Explosion, Fire


The explosion and fire that destroyed the ChemCentral facility in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 7 has led to a civil complaint filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA alleges violations of the federal Clean Air Act and the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

The explosion occurred when ChemCentral was transferring “Indopol,” a fuel additive used in sealants, coatings, lubricants, cling film and adhesives. Indopol is a trade name for polybutene.

EPA’s Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan., and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the explosion for possible violations of environmental and public health laws.

EPA’s investigation found that ChemCentral violated the Clean Air Act by failing to identify chemical hazards and failing to design and maintain a safe facility.

EPA also found that ChemCentral violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act by failing to submit a chemical inventory form for Indopol to the local emergency planning committee, the state emergency response commission, and the local fire department. The inventory, due by March 1 each year, provides information on chemical storage locations and physical or health hazards, which is critical for emergency planning and first response activities.

ChemCentral could be liable for penalties of up to $32,500 per day for each violation of the two laws. The complaint proposes a penalty of $434,260. EPA’s complaint also requires the facility to comply with regulations. The federal laws are intended to inform citizens about chemicals in their community, prevent releases of hazardous chemicals, protect the community and emergency responders if there is an accidental release, and improve emergency response to releases.


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