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Accidental Chlorine Leakage

Description of the factory:
The factory is a large one producing Ethane, Propane, Ethylene, Propylene, HDP, Chlorine, Hydrogen, 50% Caustic, Caustic Flaks, Hydrochloric Acid, PVC, Ethylene Oxide and Ethylene Glycol in various plants of the factory

This factory is identified as MAH unit.

Date and Time of the incident: Date: 20-12-2002 at about 20.45 P. M.

Incident:
Chlorine Emission from Hypo section of Chlorine Caustic Plant:
Chlorine Gas was emitted from vent pipe of final absorber of Hypo scrubber on 20th December 2002 at about 20:45 P. M. and Chlorine gas was spreaded in the atmosphere of the premises and out side the premises in the village near the factory.

Cause of the incident:

(a) Waste Chlorine/HCL gases coming from vents of HCL storage tank, Chlorate destruction tank, H2SO4 tank, Cell House waste header, Cell drain tank etc. and Chlorine gas produced due to variation in the process and released from outlet of safety valves are scrubbed in Hypo section of Caustic Chlorine plan.

(b) In addition, Chlorine vapor escaped during liquidification of chlorine by compression is burnt with Hydrogen to manufacture HCL. If this process is failed to produce HCL due to some reason, like opening of sniff valve etc., dry chlorine of this plant will also required scrubbing in the above said scrubber.

(c) The Scrubbing process is done through Jet scrubber no. 1, Jet scrubber no. 2 and final absorber as mentioned in the safety manual by maintaining Caustic concentration in each scrubber.

(d) Normally during the process of scrubbing, proportion of caustic were maintained 20GPL, 150GPL and 180 GPL in Jet scrubber no.1, Jet Scrubber no. 2 and final absorber respectively.

(e) Vent of final absorber is opened to atmosphere and chorine gas emission from this vent is possible, if the chlorine gas is not scrubbed in Jet Scrubber no.1, Jet Scrubber no. 2 and in final absorber.

(f) On 20th December 2002, Jet scrubber no. 1 was not working and it was under maintenance because of damage in rubber lining of suction tank of it. It was under repair before 10 days of the incident.

(g) Because of Jet Scrubber no. 1 was not in working and it was by-pass.
(h) Redox meter, installed on jet scrubber no. 2, keeps check on caustic concentration. It was also not working, so auto-adding system of caustic was not done at the time of incident.

(i) Only 20 GPL of caustic concentration was in the jet scrubber no. 2 (Required GPL of caustic concentration is 60GPL as per manual). Jet scrubber no. 2 was over loaded because of degraded scrubbing material & breaking of vacuum due to foaming. Un-reacted chlorine gas went to final absorber, which was also not capable of absorb excess amount of chlorine gas.

(j) Thus, Jet Scrubber no.2 and final absorbers were not capable to scrub any additional amount of Chlorine gas. Chlorine Gas was polluted the environment in the factory as well as village in the vicinity.

(k) Gas detector with alarm is not provided at the vent of final absorber, to monitor emission of gas & to get information at control room or in the plant.

Area and persons affected:
18 workers of the factory and 300 to 350 people of the village Jageshwar were affected by Chlorine gas; they were suffering from coughing and toxic effect in the throat because of toxicity of Chlorine gas.

Action taken:
Prosecution is launched against the management in the court, for violation of Para-item no. 13(1) of Part – II of Schedule 19 under Rule 102 of Gujarat Factories Rules 1963 for not maintaining;

• Jet Scrubber no. 1 in working condition
• 60 GPL Caustic Concentration in Hypo
• Redox meter in working condition, which maintain the caustic
  concentration 18% by auto-quenching method
• Not reducing foaming by vacuum break, in Jet Scrubber no. 2
• Log-book for caustic concentration
• Chlorine gas detector with alarm at the vent of final absorber.


 

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