US CSB to investigate leak at ExxonMobil Illinois refinery

07 August 2009 20:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will investigate the causes of a propane and hydrogen flouride leak that injured a worker at an ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Illinois, the board said on Friday.

The release occurred mid-day Thursday, and came from the vicinity of a pump in the alkylation unit, which uses hydrogen flouride as a catalyst, according to the CSB.

The leak did not ignite a fire, but one worker was taken to a local hospital for chemical burns, the CSB said.

“We are concerned about the three apparent releases of hydrogen fluoride from refinery alkylation units in Pennsylvania, Texas and now Illinois that have been reported since March,” CSB chairman John Bresland said.

“Because of its high toxicity, any loss of primary containment for hydrogen fluoride is a serious matter,” he added.

The other reported releases include the CITGO refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, on 19 July, and the Sunoco refinery in Philadelphia on 11 March.

The CSB said it currently has an investigative team at the Corpus Christi site.

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By: Ben DuBose
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