Port Arthur, Texas – Unified Command, including TCEQ, TPC Group and Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management, reports that response efforts at TPC Group Port Neches Operations remain focused on safely bringing the event to an end. Response efforts continue to focus on activities to secure site equipment and minimize impact to environment, while preserving the safety of emergency responders and the community.
Situation Update. TPC Group Port Neches Operations began the de-inventory process last week to further secure the site and safely transfer all remaining materials. Based on successful mechanical integrity inspections of tanks and equipment, the Company initiated the flow of materials from tanks for barge loading. “Finished” or high purity 1,3 butadiene was prioritized for first transfer and is underway. The transfer of lower purity 1,3 butadiene will commence next, followed by raffinate, polyblend and other process materials. It will take several weeks to complete the transfer of materials from the site.
As tanks containing materials are evaluated, materials in the tanks are prioritized for transfer and a method is identified. The site has rail, barge and pipeline capability to transfer materials. Determining which mode is used to transfer materials offsite is part of the evaluation. Tank evaluations and inspections are an ongoing process and no tanks are de-inventoried unless deemed operationally safe for the process. Flaring activities at the dock continue to support these efforts. Occasional elevated air measurements may register on site as response teams continue to secure the site.
At approximately 1:10 p.m. today, a leak was identified inside the fence line of TPC Group Port Neches Operations. Air monitoring teams were activated and the plant alarm was sounded. The leak resulted in elevated levels of VOCs being detected within the fence line. The source of the leak was identified and quickly mitigated. An all clear was issued at approximately 2:05 p.m.
With oversight by TCEQ, TPC Group continues to conduct air monitoring and air sampling activities onsite and in the community. Samples collected in the community continue to confirm no actionable levels of butadiene.
Deadline for Evacuation Claims. The TPC Group Community Assistance Helpline operates 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. To make an appointment to settle an evacuation claim, residents can call the Community Assistance Helpline at 866.601.5880. Evacuation claim settlements are by appointment only at the Armory Claims Center, located at 511 Grigsby Ave. in Port Neches, Texas.
As a reminder, given the high number of evacuation claims already settled, low call volume and recent decline in residents setting appointments for evacuation-only claims, our intent is to complete the “evacuation-only” claims process by Monday, January 20. Residents are asked to please call and make “evacuation-only” claims appointment as soon as possible. TPC Group will redeploy resources to accelerate the property claims process as evacuation-only appointments continue to decline. Impacted residents filing a property claim can still settle their evacuation claim simultaneously even after January 20, and therefore do not need to set up an “evacuation-only” claims appointment.
The Unified Command Joint Information Center is managing inquiries via the official response website at www.portnechesresponse.com, as well as through established social media channels on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PortNechesUC and Twitter (@PortNechesUC).
Residents are also encouraged to register for updates from the Southeast Texas Alerting Network (STAN). Call 1-877-843-7826 (toll-free) anytime to hear important alerts and notifications, or visit www.thestan.com to register for notifications.