Eastman: Chemicals released during explosions ‘was small amount, never left plant’


KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – An Eastman Chemical company spokesperson told News Channel 11 that a potentially harmful chemical released during a fire and explosions this week was a small amount and never left the plant site.

News Channel 11 also obtained  an incident report from the National Response Center provided to us by TDEC or the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.  The document lists what caused the explosions an equipment failure.

Eastman said the incident happened during what it called an “equipment swap” in the coal gas area.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said for the first time that, “Emissions resulting from the explosion at Eastman on Oct. 4 were in excess of the limits set by TDEC and that such excess emissions were atypical from a normally operating process at Eastman.”

The NRC incident report lists an equipment malfunction as the reason that “Hydrogen Sulfide” was released into the air.

During a press conference earlier this week Eastman officials told said “Hydrogen” and “Carbon Monoxide” were two agents emitted when the explosions happened.

In an emailed statement an Eastman spokesperson said the amount of Hydrogen Sulfide released was “significantly less” than is required to be reported to the government and that the company believes, “The small amount of Hydrogen Sulfide was consumed at the time of the explosions and therefore did not leave the plant site.”

According to state officials , the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Wednesday’s explosion at Eastman. That process  could take between eight and ten weeks to complete.Copyright 2017 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

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