Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. - Executive Summary
Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policies |
The Spotswood mill of Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. is committed to protecting the public, employees, and the environment while producing paper products that are important to industry and providing employment for its employees. This Executive Summary describes the processes that are used at this facility and the precautions that are taken to prevent the escape or release of noxious materials.
The Spotswood mill occupies the area between Main Street and Duhernal Lake, in Spotswood, New Jersey, and consists of 22 buildings, including administrative offices, processing buildings, and warehouses. One of the processes (bleaching) involves a regulated chemical - chlorine. Although this chemical is toxic and an oxidizer, special procedures and controls are used in its handling and processing. As a result, there have been no serious incidents involving chlorine in the past five years.
Worst-Case Release Scenario
Chlorine is received in railroad tank cars that are approved by the U. S. Department of Transportation and have capacities of 90 tons. It is theoretically possible - but highly unlikely (because of the tank-car construction and safety devices) - that a tank car could rupture, and such an incident would be considered a "worst-case" scenario. To determine the maximum number of persons who possibly could be affected, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency [USEPA] requires that the consequences of such an incident be determined, as is done in this Registration Report.
As a result of the moderately-congested area in which the Spotswood mill is located, the toxic effects of a "worst-case" release could affect the nearby residents and businesses. To determine the consequences of the "worst-case" release, the USEPA "Offsite Consequence Analysis Guidance" is used, together with a census program called "Landview". Among the features which are provided to
prevent occurrence of the "worst-case" incident are devices to prevent overpressurization of containers, excess-flow shutoff valves, leakage detectors, and remote-controlled shutoff valves.
The USEPA also requires that consequences of "alternative" release scenarios be evaluated, such as leaks from unloading hoses, piping, or other equipment. With the close control of transfers and processes, such releases are unlikely and would be stopped promptly. As a result, it is unlikely that the public or the environment would be affected.
Accidental Release Prevention Programs
Operations involving chlorine at the Spotswood mill are regulated by the "Process Safety Management" standard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and by the "Accidental Release Prevention" standard of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. To comply with these standards, the Spotswood mill follows strict guidelines for operating procedures, training of employees, analysis of processes
for potential hazards, preventive maintenance programs, emergency plans, and investigation of incidents, with employee participation in this process safety effort. In addition, the Spotswood mill has been involved in the New Jersey Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act [NJTCPA] and program since 1990, with annual reviews of the chlorine processes and with two process-safety audits by an outside consultant since that date.
Five-Year Accident History
There has been one incident involving release of chlorine in the past five years, on August 12, 1994. The incident invoved the release of less than ten pounds of "trapped" chlorine through a relief valve that had been installed to prevent overpressure damage to piping and equipment in event of such an incident. There were no on-site injuries or off-site effects as a result of this incident.
Emergency Response Program
As a part of the NJTCPA program, the Spotswood mill has conducted two emergency-response drills every year since
1990. These drills involved the Spotswood Police Department, the Spotswood Fire Department (which comprises the Local Emergency Planning Committee), as well as employees who are trained to recognize and respond to the simulated emergency situations and to actuate shutdown and other protective systems. Annual tours are arranged for members of the Fire Dapartment, to show the locations of the chlorine unloading facilities and fire-protection systems. A weather station is maintained on-site, to provide information to local authorities regarding the protection of occupants of residences and business establishments in the downwind direction, if necessary.
Planned Changes to Improve Safety
Automatic shutoff of the valves at each end of the unloading hoses, in response to detection of chlorine leakage, is being considered as a measure to further reduce the risk to employees and the public.