UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
REGION III- OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
1650 Arch Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2029
Phone - 215/814-5100 Fax - 215/814-5102
EPA Environmental News
March 12, 1998
For immediate release
For further information, contact:
EPA, Community Involvement Coordinator
LOCK HAVEN, PA; March 12, 1998 -- At 8:46 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11, the Drake Chemical Superfund incinerator stopped feed of hazardous soils when the plant experienced an unplanned opening of the Thermal Relief Vent (TRV). The TRV opening lasted 88 seconds. Federal, state and local regulators and emergency services personnel were immediately notified.
Such TRV openings were considered in the risk assessment which concluded that the incinerator would be operated without threat to human health or the environment. The TRV sits atop the secondary combustion chamber where toxic gases are destroyed in 1800 degree temperatures. It opens when sensors detect a change in the system that might jeopardized the system's pollution control systems.
Operators determined that last night's cold weather froze a pressure control valve on the airline going to the evaporative cooler causing a loss of air to the evaporative cooler. Air and water are mixed into a fine spray in the evaporative cooler in order to lower gas temperatures before they enter the next stage of pollution control. Without air to the evaporative cooler, temperatures rose in the gases leaving the evaporative cooler. Computer interlocks immediately stopped soil feed to the incinerator when the TRV opened.
Partially treated soil within the kiln was removed and stored separately for analysis. Treatment of soils from the Drake site will resume Thursday morning.