The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has assessed a $246,739 penalty on Croda, Inc., a chemical manufacturer based at the Atlas Point facility in New Castle.
The manufacturing facility released a plume of toxic gas (ethylene oxide) into the air on November 25, 2018, temporarily shutting down the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The release was the result of a faulty gasket, which the company admitted had not been properly inspected.
The facility manufactures “surfactants” that promote the mixing of oil- and water-based ingredients in consumer products such as pharmaceuticals and shaving cream.
An investigation by Croda found that the release was due to the failure of a gasket made of unsuitable material for processing ethylene oxide at the plant. The accidental release resulted in 2,688 pounds of the highly flammable EO gas escaping into the environment.
A water deluge system, deployed by Croda to minimize the risk of ignition or explosion of the EO that was released, caused almost 700,000 gallons of deluge water to overflow a spill sump and to discharge into the ground and a wooded area behind the sump.