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Emissions release detected at Beaumont plant

September 1, 2018

A local plant expelled more than 1 million pounds of chemicals into the air over the past few months, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reported.

The most recent event occurred Wednesday through Friday . The air separation unit at the Air Liquide plant in Beaumont released more than an estimated 61,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and more than 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the state’s air emission event reporting database.

“For the most part, the emissions in this isolated event don’t seem exorbitantly high given that the startup took place over a two-day period,” said Corey Williams, policy and research director of Air Alliance Houston.

More concerning, Williams said, is the rate at which the plant expelled carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide was released at about 3,644 pounds per hour over the two-day span, the incident report indicates. The plant has since restored product purity, but the event remains under investigation.

TCEQ said the emissions release estimates could change.

“After the final notification is received, the TCEQ will evaluate the reported emissions event to determine compliance with applicable rules, permit provisions, notification and reporting requirements,” the agency said.

Calls to the Air Liquide plant were not returned. A spokeswoman for the parent company did not provide a formal response Friday afternoon.

The ASU plant was established in Beaumont in 2015 to produce 2,500 tons of oxygen per day and 88 tons of liquid argon per day, according to Air Liquide.

erica.apodaca@beaumontenterprise.com

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