Carolina Eastman Division - Executive Summary

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The Carolina Eastman Division of Eastman Chemical Company ("Carolina Eastman") is located 10 miles outside Columbia, South Carolina.  The site employs more than 700 persons.  Carolina Eastman operates the largest Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plant in the world.  Eastman's corporate headquarters is located in Kingsport, Tennessee. 
In 1962 Eastman purchased approximately 2,300 acres along the Congaree River.  The first part of the plant, fiber production, was constructed in 1966.  Carolina Eastman expanded its plant in 1972 to include chemical plants to produce terephthalic acid (TPA), dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and polyester polymer.  In 1989 the fiber production was discontinued. 
Carolina Eastman has had a strong commitment to protecting the employees, the community, and the environment since the beginning of its operations. Carolina Eastman utilizes a "layers of protection" approach to protect people and the environment.  This approach includes, but is not limit 
ed to the following elements: 
* Employees 
Highly trained and continually educated employees are the most important resource in operating the facilities and in protecting the community and the environment. 
* Mechanical Integrity 
Comprehensive inspection and testing programs help assure reliable and well maintained equipment, which greatly reduces the possibility of failure. 
* Hazard Review 
Comprehensive reviews are conducted before startup and every five years thereafter on all systems handling hazardous materials.  Hazard reviews identify accident potential and corrective actions before something becomes a problem. 
* Process Controls 
A variety of reliable computerized systems provide precise control of processes from different areas of the plant and maintain tight operating parameters. 
* Monitoring Systems 
Highly sensitive detectors identify impending problems, and give operators early warning and enable them to provide quick and effective responses. 
Eastman handles four chemicals listed in 40 CFR Section 68.130.  Only one of those chemicals, acetaldehyde, is stored at levels above the threshold quantity.  This chemical is listed as flammable. 
* Basic Information 
Acetaldehyde is a clear colorless liquid with a pungent odor.  However, under normal atmospheric temperature and pressure, liquid acetaldehyde will rapidly evaporate into a gas.  Its vapors are irritating to the mucous membranes and especially the eyes.  If it becomes contaminated, it may either react with the contaminant or polymerize both with the evolution of heat.  It is lighter than water and soluble in water.  Its vapors are heavier than air. 
* Uses 
Acetaldehyde is a base ingredient used to produce other chemicals.  It eventually ends up in many products containing fibers and plastics. 
* Worst Case Scenario 
Acetaldehyde constitutes Carolina Eastman's flammable worst case scenario.  In this scenario,  
the largest vessel containing acetaldehyde is catastrophically ruptured, resulting in a vapor cloud explosion.  The total inventory of acetaldehyde is kept at or below 250,000 pounds by administrative controls.  This scenario has no off-site consequences. 
* Alternate Release Scenario 
The Alternate Release Scenario (ARS) has no off-site consequences that affect people or a public receptor.  The ARS is the rupture of a 2-inch hole in the tank. 
In the five years previous to the submission of this report, Carolina Eastman has had no Risk Management Plan reportable incidents. 
The key to minimizing the effect of an accidental release is to get the right people and equipment to the scene quickly.  This takes planning and highly trained emergency responders with specialized equipment.  These two things will keep an accidental release from affecting a large area. 
General Emergency Response Practices for all Chemicals: 
* Response is coor 
dinated with emergency response agencies in the community via a Field Command Post and a Control Center. 
* Eastman's emergency response crews use a multi-tiered emergency response plan to enhance reaction time and effectiveness. 
* Emergency response personnel are regularly trained to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local requirements. 
Improvement plans fall into three primary areas: 
* Hazard Analysis - Continual identification of potential hazards, and prompt implementation of corrective action are performed in accordance with applicable regulations and as a matter of company policy. 
* Incident Investigation - Prompt, thorough investigation of all significant incidents and near-misses are conducted using root cause failure analysis techniques, and the conclusions are shared across the company. 
* Benchmarking - Through our trade association, the Chemical Manufacturers' Association, and through other cooperative efforts, such as the  
Center for Chemical Process Safety, we continually evaluate our safety programs and processes against the best in the world, with the goal of continual improvement.
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