Processing Magazine

Westlake Chemical Corp. explosion released chemicals into environment

April 11, 2012

GEISMAR, La. — According to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the explosion and fire last month at the Westlake Chemical Corp. complex in Geismar was the fifth and most significant release of chemicals at the plant since the beginning of 2010, the Washington Examiner reported.

The March 22 fire primarily released hydrochloric acid, chlorine and vinyl chloride monomer.

DEQ estimates that 15 compounds were released during the fire, which sent a large plume into the air and over the Mississippi River.

The fire shut down Westlake''s vinyl chloride monomer plant probably until mid-May and the entire Geismar Vinyls Complex remains out of production, the company has said.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.