Croda has resumed ethylene oxide production at its Atlas Point site following more than five months of emissions violations that prompted tests and repairs.
DNREC confirmed to WDEL that Croda communicated to them they had introduced ethanol into their system, and expected to be producing ethylene oxide overnight Thursday into Friday.
Croda held a source testing event on September 17, 2020, which discovered the following violations:
- Connecting and routing an unpermitted source into an air pollution control device (scrubber)
- Exceeding the annual emission limit for ethylene oxide at the scrubber
- Failure to meet the volatile organic compound (VOC) removal efficiency at the scrubber
- Operation of an unpermitted source of ethylene oxide at the hotwell, which collects and condenses vapors from the purification and vacuum distillation of crude ethylene glycol.
The ethylene oxide violations were confirmed in November, and the plant was closed until January of 2021, when more stack testing took place.
At that point, while the EO was back within permitted levels, nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide, and other levels were then found to be exceeded.
While Croda is still in the process of applying for various permits on those levels, they were permitted to re-start EO production.
Croda had to pay a $300,000 fine to DNREC for the violations, and are required to install a second alarm to the north of I-295 for when emissions levels are above acceptable levels.
WDEL has reached out to Croda for comment on their reopening, but has not received a response as of late Thursday night.