Weekend Benzene Leak at Corunna Site Prompts Nova's Probe
Weekend Benzene Leak at Corunna Site Prompts Nova's Probe

Weekend Benzene Leak at Corunna Site Prompts Nova's Probe

  • 24-Jan-2024 2:22 PM
  • Journalist: Patricia Jose Perez

Nova Chemicals is currently conducting an investigation into the underlying factors behind a benzene release incident at its Corunna site this past Saturday. Around 5 p.m., the company disseminated a notification through Sarnia-Lambton Alerts, signifying that the facility was managing a hydrocarbon release. Around six o'clock in the evening, a second alert was released with the all-clear indication.

In an official statement, Nova Chemicals disclosed that their ongoing investigation points to a pump seal failure as the probable cause of the incident. Benzene leaked into the environment as a result of this malfunction. The company stated that as soon as the release was discovered, steps were taken to isolate it, and ongoing air monitoring at many sites showed no readings from off-site.

The Corunna site, which employs 450 people and is situated at the intersection of Highway 40 and Petrolia Line in St. Clair Township, mostly manufactures ethylene. This ethylene is utilized at other Nova sites in the township for the production of polyethylene plastic. Nova assured that the incident had no impact on its ethylene production.

It is essential to note that benzene exposure poses an increased risk of leukemia in certain areas of Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang First Nation, as outlined in a November report by the provincial Sarnia Area Environmental Health Project. The province project's air exposure analysis for the years 2015–19 revealed that the industrial zones in south Sarnia and the northern sections of Aamjiwnaang posed the greatest hazards.

Nova Chemicals, cognizant of its responsibilities, promptly engaged with the Ontario Environment Ministry's Spills Action Centre, as mandated, and communicated the incident to the community. The company emphasized its commitment to safety, regulatory compliance, effective incident management, and continuous improvement, emphasizing its participation as a founding member of Responsible Care.

Responsible Care, an industry initiative rooted in Canada, aims to advance safe, responsible, and sustainable chemical manufacturing practices. Nova Chemicals underscored that its response and investigation into Saturday's incident align with the broader goal of understanding how to prevent and mitigate similar situations in the future.

Nova Chemicals is actively addressing the benzene release incident at its Corunna site, diligently investigating the cause and taking immediate measures to contain the situation. The company's commitment to safety, regulatory compliance, and continuous improvement underscores its dedication to responsible chemical manufacturing practices. The ongoing investigation is seen as a crucial step in enhancing preventive measures and mitigating risks in the future.

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