(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, February 07, 2014 2:58 PM
Axiall officials expect to bring the PHH unit, which was at the center of an explosion and fire at the company’s Westlake facility in December, back online by late March.
Axiall’s website states: “Axiall Corp. updated its assessment of the PHH vinyl chloride monomer manufacturing facility at the company’s Lake Charles chemicals complex in Louisiana that was affected by the Dec. 20 fire. Based on its current assessment the company anticipates operations to resume near the end of the first quarter of 2014.”
The website also says that repairs and lost production at the facility will have minimal impact on the company’s fourth-quarter 2013 results. Axiall’s first-quarter 2014 operating income, however, will be reduced by $25 million, the website says.
Published reports have indicated that the Dec. 20 blast prompted Axiall officials to declare a force majeure on production, which the company is looking to lift in April.
The cause of the incident remains under investigation.
Axiall officials have hired an independent consultant to calculate the amount of toxic chemicals that were released into the atmosphere as a result of the fire. The calculations will form the company’s reportable quantities report to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Axiall’s Unauthorized Discharge Notification Report, which was sent to DEQ on Dec. 26, listed hydrochloric acid, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer as the chemicals that were “released as a result of the unauthorized discharge.”
DEQ spokeswoman Jean Kelly said Axiall has 60 days from the date of the company’s discharge notification report to update its RQ numbers for DEQ. Axiall has to update the RQ report every 60 days with DEQ until the investigation on the incident is complete.
The incident sent at least 27 people to area hospitals. Axiall’s report said no plant workers were injured.