Local Kraton plant experiences a second minor leak on Friday

BELPRE – Kraton’s Belpre plant experienced a second leak Friday morning as company and federal environmental officials were responding to another one that sent solvents into nearby Davis Creek on Thursday.

The second leak occurred around 10:30 a.m. Friday, said Kraton spokesman Mike White.

“This was a vapor leak of process solvents in an operating area that was not in service,” White said in an emailed statement. “The leak was contained within the plant and treated with the plant’s water suppression system.”

At this time, it does not appear the leak will impact Davis Creek or the Ohio River, into which it feeds.

The solvents are used to cool equipment at the plant.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were on the scene already, responding, at the request of the Ohio EPA, to a leak of diethyl ether and cyclohexane that happened around 3:15 a.m. Thursday, according to an email from the agency.

“Kraton has deployed booms into the nearby Davis Creek,” the EPA said in an emailed statement. “Aeration is being used to treat the diethyl ether and a boom to recuperate the cyclohexane.”

It’s too early to determine the size of the leak or the potential cost and duration of the cleanup, according to the EPA.

White said it’s likely cold weather is responsible for both leaks.

“We believe the events are related to recent extreme cold weather, but we are conducting an in-depth investigation so we can determine with certainty the cause,” he said. “We remain fully committed to the safety of the local community and our employees and to minimizing the impact to the local environment.”

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said Thursday’s spill would have no effect on drinking water in the city.

“We’ve got a well field, and it’s all away from the river,” he said.

Thursday’s spill did result in a fish kill, but the extent wasn’t known Friday.

The EPA will continue monitoring chemical levels in Davis Creek and the Ohio River. White said that when those levels return to normal, a determination will be made about when the affected area of the plant will resume normal operations.