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CHEMCENTRAL to Pay $400,000 for Fiery Explosion

Release Date: 02/28/2008
Contact Information: David Bryan, 913-551-7433, bryan.david@epa.gov



Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., Feb. 28, 2008) - CHEMCENTRAL Midwest Corporation of Kansas City will pay a $225,000 fine to settle a civil complaint filed against the company by EPA Region 7 in connection with a massive fire and explosion at CHEMCENTRAL a year ago. The company also agreed to reimburse EPA's costs of $150,713 for responding to the blaze.

The explosion occurred when CHEMCENTRAL workers were transferring "Indopol," a fuel additive used in sealants, coatings, lubricants, cling film and adhesives. Indopol is a trade name for polybutene.

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.

EPA filed the complaint in July 2007 for alleged violations at the industrial chemical distributor facility at 910 N. Prospect Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Prior to the fire, CHEMCENTRAL Midwest Corporation distributed industrial chemicals from the facility.

The cost recovery part of the settlement is subject to a public comment period of no less than 30 days. EPA may modify or withdraw its consent to the settlement if public comments disclose facts or considerations that indicate the settlement is inappropriate, improper or inadequate.

Region 7's on-scene coordinators and staff oversaw a large-scale response to the fire. EPA provided assistance to emergency responders and conducted extensive air monitoring, including deploying the agency's flying chemical detection system. EPA also took samples from locations outside of the site and at nearby schools.