Processing Magazine

Explosion at Nova-Kem chemical processing plant forces evacuations

June 5, 2013
fire
Photo credit: Stockbyte/Getty Images/Thinkstock

A fire and subsequent explosion Sunday at the Nova-Kem chemical processing plant in Seward, Ill., forced authorities to evacuate residents within a 2-mile radius, pjstar.com reported.

According to WQRF FOX 39, the plant contained siliconetetrachloride, nitric acid, acetone and hexachlorodisilane, along with chlorine tanks located outside of the building. A malfunctioning valve caused a tank containing hexachlorodisilane to leak. During cleanup, a spark ignited the chemicals, the article stated.

Luckily, a safety mechanism caused the chlorine tanks to empty, preventing a more massive explosion.

RELATED: Federal agencies criticized for oversight failure prior to Texas fertilizer plant explosion

Officials said most of the chemicals burned up in the fire and the chlorine spill was contained to a small area around the plant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked the Illinois Attorney General to obtain a court order requiring Nova-Kem to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and halt all operations at the plant until corrective measures are put into place.