Alcoa - Massena Operations - Executive Summary
The Alcoa, Inc. (Alcoa) facility in Massena, New York utilizes chlorine in the production of aluminum ingots and in the treatment of water drawn from the St. Lawrence Seaway for use in the production process and public water supply. As feed for the production area, also known as the metal fluxing process, chlorine is stored in a maximum of 6,000 pounds, as a gas liquified by pressure in three 1-ton cylinders. In this process, chlorine is combines with the impurities in the molten aluminum to create precipitates which can then be removed for the aluminum. For the water treatment process, chlorine is stored in the Massena Intake building (which is owned by the New York State Power Authority) in quantities up to 12,000 pounds, as a gas liquified by pressure in six 1-ton cylinders. Here, chlorine is fed to the water drawn from the seaway to kill zebra mussel larvae and prevent their growth in the pipes, as this can cause equipment damage and failure. |
Because chlorine is a hazardous co
mpound as listed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the management of the hazards in these processes are regulated by these agencies. To comply with regulatory requirements, and to protect the health and safety of their employees, the surrounding community, and the surrounding environment, Alcoa has established a risk management program to help ensure the continued safe operation of these processes.
It is believed that the worst potential release from either system would be the uncontrolled release of all the material from one chlorine cylinder. Based upon the regulatory requirements, it was assumed that all the material in the cylinder would be released to the chlorine storage room within 10 minutes. However, both the metal fluxing chlorine room and the intake chlorine room are enclosed. The enclosure decreases the chlorine release rate to about 1/10 th of the rate for a release from a non-enclosed release.
From the metal fluxing area, this release would have the potential to affect the residences of approximately 9,519 people, neighboring businesses, schools, hospitals, airports, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. From the intake building, this release would have the potential to affect the residences of approximately 10,324 people, neighboring businesses, schools, hospitals, airports, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. These release scenarios, however, are extremely unlikely. Alcoa has not had any chlorine releases from either process, and performs preventive and routine maintenance on all chlorine equipment to ensure it remains in good working condition. In addition, both chlorine storage areas are equipped with chlorine detectors that would allow for the release to be identified quickly and corrective actions taken. In addition, the intake is equipped with automatic shutdown systems to stop the chlorine flow in the event of a detected release. Preventive and routine maintenance is also perf
ormed on the detection equipment. More likely release scenarios include a break or hole in a pipe. Because these releases would occur in areas occupied by plant personnel or would be stopped by the automatic control system, they have the potential to affect far fewer personnel than the less likely worst case release scenarios. For a liquid chlorine release from a pipe in the metal fluxing area, the residences of approximately 699 people, schools, other industrial areas, and the St. Lawrence Seaway are expected to be affected. For a gaseous chlorine release from the same area, it is anticipated that the residences of approximately 5 people may be affected. For a liquid chlorine release from a pipe in the intake, the residences of approximately 774 people, schools, other industrial areas, and the St. Lawrence Seaway are expected to be affected. For a gaseous chlorine release from the same area, it is anticipated that the residences of approximately 5 people may be affected.
a has established a management system meeting the requirements of both the OSHA PSM and EPA RMP standards to help ensure the safe operation of these processes. To identify situations that have the potential to result in chlorine releases, Alcoa analyzed each process, looking at how the elements interact, how the equipment can fail, what happens if it fails, what is in place to prevent it, and what, if any, recommendations are needed to improve the safety of the facility. In addition, Alcoa has established facility-wide procedures to manage hazardous activities, such a welding, and process-specific procedures to address hazards and operations and maintenance activities that are unique to that process. All personnel who may be required to perform these activities in the proper procedures. Employees have been asked to participate in the development of the procedures and other relevant documentation related to these processes so their experiences and knowldge can be utilized. New equi
pment is inspected and tested before it is placed in service, and all changes are analyzed before they are implemented to ensure they do not create new hazards.
Alcoa investigates every incident that occurs at the facility, whether or not chlorine was involved in the incident. Alcoa also has an emergency response program that includes personnel at the facility who have been trained in the best ways to handle chlorine releases and coordination with the St. Lawrence County Emergency Services. Drills for chlorine incident response have been conducted.