Starting January 22, 2019, and continuing for 30 hours, a butane storage tank at the Marcus Hook refinery leaked 510 tons of butane into the air. That’s a massive amount of gas, and (given the characteristics of butane) must have formed a large flammable cloud. And yet, no one was notified or evacuated, as far as I have been able to learn.
This release could easily have caused a catastrophic explosion in Marcus Hook.
The leak was the first of two major butane leaks at the facility within a two-week period. The second, on February 4, was a leak from a butane pipeline at the plant. It caused Route 13 to be shut down. That leak was the subject of a previous blog post. Although local police were notified, it is my understanding that Delaware County emergency services were not, and again no one was evacuated.
We only know of the January leak because the PA Department of Environmental Protection cited Sunoco for it in a September 12 “Deviation Report” noting nine instances of failures to comply with environmental permits at Marcus Hook during the first half of 2019. The January and February leaks were two of the nine. (I am grateful to Clean Air Council for bringing this report to my attention.) The report cites a faulty pressure safety valve on a refrigerated butane tank as the cause of the January leak.
The report says that the February 4 butane leak involved a release of 18 tons.
It is unacceptable that large leaks of highly volatile, flammable liquids can be permitted to occur with no notification of local authorities, county authorities, or nearby residents. Let your elected representatives know that this cannot be permitted to continue.
Yikes! === Bernie Banet === Ann Arbor, Michigan
On Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 10:08 PM Dragonpipe Diary wrote:
> galex49 posted: ” Starting January 22, 2019, and continuing for 30 hours, > a butane storage tank at the Marcus Hook refinery leaked 510 tons of butane > into the air. That’s a massive amount of gas, and (given the > characteristics of butane) must have formed a large flammabl” >
Hello George, thank you for this as always. How frightening and infuriating – perfect follow-up however, for my meeting with my State Rep and Sen. yesterday. I just sent it on to them.
The meeting went extremely well. They were both equally interested and horrified, as I went through all the material that I gave them, piece by piece. They stayed for a full hour, asking lots of questions. It was a good start… Now of course I have a lot of”homework” to do, which I will pick away at over the coming weeks, trying to fit that into an already booked-up life, as I know yours is, of course, too. (I am astonished that you have time to spend on the barbershop group, with all this activist work you are doing – how sad that that might have to be sacrificed sometimes). See you, JK
Thanks for your work in alerting nearby Delawareans–and their representatives– to the threat!