Heavy flaring Saturday morning at a Baytown, Texas, chemical plant to control dangerous gasses following a power outage caused public concern about a possible fire emergency.
Baytown authorities posted the following on the city’s Facebook page.
“The information we have received (from Raven Chemical) is that a power outage caused an issue with one of their units and that the flaring was a safety mechanism to burn off the excess chemicals.”
Flaring is used to safely regulate the mounting pressure in process units when the process is interrupted by some event. Gases or liquids are diverted by way of flare headers to be burned at the top of elevated stacks.
Several hours after the first flaring around 5:30 a.m., Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo posted that an all-clear had been issued by the plant.
“No injuries or concerns to the public identified right now,” Hidalgo said. “However, I’ve directed emergency management and pollution control departments to continue monitoring to ensure safety should issues arise.”
She later posted that air monitoring conducted by the Harris County Pollution Control Service Department reported normal air quality.
According to the company website, Raven Chemical processes ethylene to produce 1-Butene, an organic chemical compound that is a highly flammable gas. Of industrial importance, 1-Butene reacts catalytically with carbon monoxide and hydrogent to create aldehydes.