The Enquirer; January 27, 2005

Manufacturer released more dangerous gas

ADDYSTON - A plastic manufacturer reported to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services this week that it released 700 pounds of a gas Dec. 15 that is considered a "probable" cancer-causing agent.
Lanxess Corp, formerly the Bayer Co., told a public hearing with residents, county officials and members of Ohio Citizen Action on Wednesday that a malfunction in a reactor that makes plastic caused the release of the gas, called acrylonitrile.
All 700 pounds were released in eight minutes. The company is allowed to release up to eight pounds of the gas during manufacturing processes. The company, which had an accident during the village's Oktoberfest celebration last year that released nearly 1,200 pounds of the same gas, said no workers or residents were exposed to the gas.
"We took air samples at our fence line and there was no indication that we had any problem with the gas leaving our plant," said plant manager Bill Ward.
Peter Sturdevant, an enforcement officer with the county, said the gas may have been lifted over the fence line and into town without setting off any sensors. Sturdevant said the county is negotiating with the company over fines and corrective actions that need to be taken because of the October incident. He said the county has asked the company to study how the gas was dispersed in the most recent release. "We intend on proposing some actions we'd like to see taken," Sturdevant said.
Lanxess officials contacted the Addyston mayor and other public officials after the December release - something that did not happen in October. That, they say, is a result of public concern over how company officials notify the public about accidents. By Dan Klepal, Enquirer staff writer

Lanxess Accidents 1996-2005

April 4, 2005
Ruth Breech, Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action

Lanxess Plastics in Addyston has had three large accidents in the past four months: one in October 2004, one in December 2004, and one in February 2005. Unfortunately, these accidents are not isolated incidents, but rather a display of chronic behavior dating back to at least 1996 when Bayer bought the plant from Monsanto. The list below shows the most significant of these accidents from 1996 through February 2005.

In 2004 alone, Lanxess reported 107 accidents (see attached chart). These recurring accidents caused the release of 3,932.36 lbs of toxic chemicals into the air and 79 gallons of untreated waste into Ohio River. These releases are in addition to the plant's "routine" toxic chemical emissions.

Bayer/Lanxess Noteworthy Accidents, 1996-2005

1) Apr 6, 1996: 200 lbs of styrene released; system start up did not work

2) Apr 28, 1996: 3,100 lbs of caustic solution released, contained on site

3) May 30, 1996: 1,400 lbs of styrene released due to a blown rupture disk (overpressured tank), contained on site

4) Dec 15, 1996: 336 lbs of acrylonitrile released due to a ruptured disk, material was vented to emergency blow down tanks, contained on site

5) Oct 6, 1998: 1,400 lbs of sodium bisulfite was released to Ohio River when a pump backpressure valve failure

6) Feb 14, 1999: 200 lbs of acrylonitrile released to the air due to LNIC process unit in upset conditions and was forced to blow the batch down to the blowdown tank

7) Apr 24, 1999: 51 lbs of acrylonitrile released

8) Jun 9, 1999: 371 lbs of acrylonitrile released in five minutes due to failure of LNIC suspension kettle. Four community people went to the hospital because of the incident, including the agency investigator, 11 people called in odor complaints to Hamilton County. VIOLATION.

9) Feb 9, 2001: 572 lbs of acrylonitrile and 126 lbs of styrene released to the air in 39 minutes, due to valve failure.

10) Feb 2, 2002: 199 lbs of butadiene spilled to the Ohio River in 45 minutes. VIOLATION.

11) Apr 2, 2002: 237 lbs of acrylonitrile (79 lbs released into atmosphere, 119 lbs sent to waste water treatment plant) 278 lbs of styrene released.

12) Jun 1, 2002: 503 lbs of acrylonitrile and 423 lbs of styrene in 5 minutes

13) Jun 2, 2002: 300 lbs of acrylonitrile released to the air due to a malfunction of the reactor. VIOLATION.

14) Jun 5, 2002: 150 lbs of acrylonitrile and 170 lbs of styrene released in five minutes

15) Oct 4, 2004: main duct system malfunctioned and vented to the air all weekend due to a valve failure. 1,122 lbs of acrylonitrile, 34 lbs of butadiene, and 387 lbs of styrene were released in 49 hours.

16) Dec 15, 2004: overpressurization of a small reactor, 700 lbs of acrylonitrile released in five minutes. VIOLATION PENDING.

17) Feb 23, 2005: a leak occurred within the emulsion polymerization process resulting in 750 lbs of 1,3 butadiene released to the air in four and a half hours.

Source: Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services