The Texas plant produces liquid organic peroxides used in the production of plastic resins, polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and polyester reinforced fiberglass, and acrylic resins.
The situation at an Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, outside of Houston, has become "serious", the company said in a statement, and there is a risk that the plant could catch fire or explode.
Authorities with the Department of Homeland Security are monitoring plant temperatures remotely, saying there is no imminent danger, according to KTRK-TV.
The Arkema plant, which produces chemicals used in making acrylic-based paints, is now submerged under floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey which have knocked out its primary and its two backup power generators. The building is without power, and severe flooding has inundated back-up generators. Later in the day, the Harris County Fire Marshals evacuated residents within 1.5 miles of the plant as a "precautionary measure".
The company, however, says their hands are tied during the hurricane.
Sure, reports continue to come out of other industrial facilities damaged by Harvey, as we've noted, but none of them have the same immediate potential to go as horribly wrong as the problem at the site owned by French industrial behemoth Arkema SA. "Our team then transferred products from the warehouses into diesel-powered refrigerated containers, and continued to monitor the situation", he said. Chemical refrigeration at the plant has been compromised due to high water and lack of power.
"Arkema is limited in what it can do to address the site conditions until the storm abates", Smith said.
The entrance of the Arkema plant in Crosby, TX. The company said in a site status update that regulatory agencies have also been notified of the situation.