Marathon Petroleum Corp's 585,000 barrel-per-day Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, on Tuesday issued a shelter-in-place notice because of a toxic leak, people familiar with plant operations told Rueters.
Marathon and Texas City officials reportedly ordered workers and nearby residents to go indoors and close windows for over an hour due to a leak of hydrofluoric acid (HF). Hydrofluoric acid forms a ground-hugging cloud at room temperature that can lead to severe health problems and even death.
Two workers were taken to a nearby medical facility as a precaution due to a chemical leak at the plant, said Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry.
"The Galveston Bay Refinery's automated response systems today activated mitigation measures in response to a small chemical release," Kheiry said in a statement. "The release has been stopped and air monitoring data indicate no off-site impact."
A Texas City spokeswoman said the city's fire department assisted Marathon with the incident for about an hour and a half beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time.
The leak came from the 31,500-bpd alkylation unit 3, which uses hydrofluoric acid to convert refining by-products into octane-boosting components added to gasoline, workers told Reueters.