Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation I-01-005
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 12:05 A.M. ON 2/18/99, RAILROAD TANK CAR UTLX 643593, WHICH WAS ON THE WEST UNLOADING RACK AT THE ESSROC CEMENT CORPORATION CEMENT PLANT NEAR CLYMERS, INDIANA, SUSTAINED A SUDDEN AND CATASTROPHIC RUPTURE THAT PROPELLED THE TANK CAR'S TANK ABOUT 750 FEET AND OVER MULTISTORY STORAGE TANKS. THERE WERE NO INJURIES OR FATALITIES. TOTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING PROPERTY DAMAGE AND COSTS FROM LOST PRODUCTION, WERE ESTIMATED AT NEARLY $8.2 MILLION. THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DETERMINED THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT WAS THE FAILURE OF ESSROC CEMENT CORPORATION (ESSROC) AND CP RECYCLING OF INDIANA (CPRIN) MANAGEMENT TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT SAFE PROCEDURES FOR OFFLOADING TOLUENE DIISOCYANATE (TDI) MATTER WASTES, RESULTING IN THE OVERPRESSURIZATION OF THE TANK CAR FROM CHEMICAL SELF-REACTION AND EXPANSION OF THE TDI MATTER WASTES.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE LYONDELL CHEMICAL COMPANY: COLLABORATE WITH APPLICABLE PRODUCERS, SHIPPERS, CONSIGNEES, AND END-USERS IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SPECIFIC AND WRITTEN PROCEDURES FOR THE LOADING OR OFFLOADING OF ANY CHEMICAL OR WASTE MATERIAL FROM A RAILROAD TANK CAR, HIGHWAY CARGO TANK, OR OTHER BULK TRANSPORTATION VESSEL WHEN THE CHEMICAL OR WASTE MATERIAL EXHIBITS PROPERTIES THAT REQUIRE SPECIAL HANDLING OR PROCESSING DURING THE LOADING OR OFFLOADING OPERATION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Intermodal
Location: Clymers, IN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA99MZ004
Accident Reports: ​Rupture of a Railroad Tank Car Containing Hazardous Waste
Report #: HZM-01-01
Accident Date: 2/18/1999
Issue Date: 3/12/2001
Date Closed: 9/16/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Lyondell Chemical Company (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Tank Car Loading and Unloading, Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Lyondell Chemical Company
Date: 9/16/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that Lyondell no longer stores toluene diisocyanate matter waste (TDI matter) in railroad tank cars, and therefore has no need to transport them by rail. The Board also notes Lyondell's belief that it has no need to develop specific procedures for the loading or offloading of TDI matter from railroad tank cars. Mr. Ferro's letter states that Lyondell agrees with the recommendation as a general principle, and strives to comply with the intent of the recommendation when the company is involved in the transportation chain. However, Lyondell also maintains that its role in the disposal of the TDI matter at Essroc Cement Corporation was secondary to the other companies involved, and the company believes there was nothing else it could have, or should have, done to prevent the incident. The Safety Board appreciates that Lyondell agrees with the intent of the recommendation as a general operating practice. However, the Board is disappointed that Lyondell does not agree that, even though it only has secondary involvement as a shipper of hazardous waste, it should have ensured that proper handling procedures were specified and in place. The Board believes that all participants in hazardous waste shipments have a responsibility to ensure that proper handling procedures are established and followed. Lyondell (as ARCO) was clearly listed as the generator on the shipping documents. As stated in the accident report, during its investigation, the Board could not determine what information or guidance was provided by the Lake Charles operators to Essroc and CP Recycling of Indiana. Had appropriate procedures been established by any one of the parties involved (including ARCO), and followed during loading and offloading operations, the accident could have been avoided. Moreover, Lyondell has not implemented our recommendation to develop specific, written procedures to help prevent future accidents. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation I-01-05 is classified "Closed--Unacceptable Response." The Board urges Lyondell Chemical Company to comply with the intent of the recommendation for all hazardous material loading or offloading operations in which Lyondell has any involvement.

From: Lyondell Chemical Company
To: NTSB
Date: 5/26/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/8/2004 10:08:01 AM MC# 2040279 I am writing on behalf of my client, Lyondell Chemical Company, in response to your email messages of May 19, 2004 and May 25, 2004 regarding the response of Lyondell to the March 21, 2001 letter from the National Transportation Safety Board, generally, and to NTSB's Safety Recommendation I-01-05, specifically. In a letter dated November 21, 2001, Lyondell declined to respond to the NTSB's Safety Recommendation, citing the pending litigation arising from the incident that was the subject of the NTSB's investigation. That litigation has ended, and Lyondell now makes the following response to the NTSB's Safety Recommendation I-01 -05. First, Lyondell wishes to advise the NTSB of actions it has taken with respect to the disposal of toluene diisocyanate ("TDI") matter waste ("TDI Matter") since the incident at ESSROC Cement Corporation cement plant near Clymers, Indiana, on February 18, 1999. Second, Lyondell wishes to take issue with some of the NTSB's conclusions regarding the incident and with its recommendation to Lyondell. While 1,yondell was a party representative to the investigation and provided technical assistance to the NTSB investigators, Lyondell believes that the NTSB neither fully appreciated nor considered the opinions and recommendations of Lyondell regarding the incident when preparing its final report and recommendations. As the NTSB follows up on its safety recommendations, Lyondell wishes to provide its feedback to the NTSB. Regarding actions taken by Lyondell since the incident, Lyondell has discontinued the off-site disposal of TDI Matter. The impetuous for shipment of TDI Matter from the Lyondell Lake Charles, Louisiana plant to ESSROC in Clymers, Indiana was the accumulation of TDI Matter in railroad tank cars at the Lake Charles plant. This accumulation of TDI Matter in railroad tank cars was a situation that Lyondell inherited when it acquired the Lake Charles plant from Olin Corporation. Initially, Lyondell refused to accept the TDI Matter in railroad tank cars as part of the transaction. After further negotiation the parties agreed that Lyondell would attempt to recover as much TDI from the TDI Matter as possible within a fixed period of time. Thereafter, Olin would be responsible for disposal of the remaining TDI Matter. Lyondell's reluctance to acquire the TDI Matter in railcars was based not only on economics relative to the acquisition transaction, but also on a recognition that the TDI Matter in railcars would ultimately have to be disposed of at an off-site disposal facility and that such disposal presented certain risks. After acquiring the Lake Charles plant from Olin, Lyondell discontinued the practice of storing TDI Matter in railroad tank cars, undertook operational and process changes to reduce the amount of TDI Matter generated and disposes of any TDI Matter generated in its own on-site, permitted waste disposal incinerator. These actions obviate the need to transport TDI matter by railroad tank car, to collaborate with consignees and waste disposal operators on the transportation of TDI Matter or to develop and implement specific and written procedures for the loading or offloading of TDI Matter from a railroad tank car. Lyondell agrees with the NTSBS Safety Recommendation I-01-05 as a general principle. Shippers of chemicals and hazardous waste should collaborate with consignees and end users regarding the safe loading and unloading of railroad tank cars. Further, where the lading has characteristics that require unusual or special handling instructions, the shipper should provide that information to the carrier, the consignee, the end user or any other party as appropriate. Lyondell strives to comply with this general principle through its Operational Excellence standards and the procedures that implement those standards. Moreover, Lyondell works collaborative with all parties in the transportation chain to assure that risks and hazards are identified, communicated and, where possible, mitigated or eliminated. However, Lyondell takes issue with Safety Recommendation I-01-05 to the extent it implies that this recommendation would have prevented the February 18, 1999 incident from occurring or would have materially contributed to prevention of the incident. The NTSBS Safety Recommendation to Lyondell is too broad and non-specific to provide meaningful guidance on preventing a re-occurrence of the incident to a party in Lyondell's position in the chain of events. Lyondell believes that it did work collaboratively with all the parties involved - Olin, CP Recycling of Indiana ("CPRIN") and ESSROC Cement Corporation - and responded appropriately when asked to provide information regarding the TDI Matter. The record developed both in the NTSB investigation and the subsequent litigation clearly shows that Lyondell's role in the disposal of the TDI Matter at ESSROC was secondary to and supportive of Olin, which had been the owner and operator of the Lake Charles plant during the accumulation of the TDI Matter railroad tank cars and had engaged the services of the acknowledged expert on loading and unloading TDI Matter, Mr. William Crump, to advise CPRIN and ESSROC. What more Lyondell could have, or should have, done to prevent the incident is neither evident nor discernable from the NTSB's recommendation. Further, Lyondell believes that the NTSB's conclusions regarding the incident and its safety recommendation to Lyondell fail to take into account or reflect the discrete factual circumstances or the greater context surrounding the incident. For example, the NTSB's conclusions and recommendation do not take into account the legal and contractual constraints upon Lyondell's ability to act. Disposal of the TDI Matter was arranged by Olin (either directly or through its agent), which contracted with CP Recycling. In turn, CP Recycling contracted with ESSROC for the actual incineration of the TDI Matter and with CPRIN for unloading the railroad tank cars and transferring the TDI Matter into the ESSROC kiln fuel system. Lyondell was not in privy of contract with any of the parties responsible for the transportation, unloading or incineration of the TDI Matter. Consequently, Lyondell had little, if any, legal right or standing to direct any aspect of the TDI Matter disposal. But for the gratuitous completion of the transportation documents for each tank car shipment of TDI Matter, including the erroneous designation of Lyondell as "shipper/generator" on the hazardous waste manifest, Lyondell would have had no legal responsibility for any part of the TDI Matter disposal. The NTSB's recommendation to Lyondell would impose an extra-legal requirement to interject itself into contractual relationships to which it was not a party and to invade the independent contractor relationship by directing the manner and detail in which the contracted work was to be performed. Further, the NTSB ignores the fact that ESSROC, CPRIN or both made representations regarding their expertise in disposing of TDI Matter, when, in fact, they possessed no such expertise. We trust that the foregoing satisfies your request. Should you have any questions about this response, please do not hesitate to contact me.

From: Lyondell Chemical Company
To: NTSB
Date: 11/13/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/20/2002 6:27:48 PM MC# 2020169

From: NTSB
To: Lyondell Chemical Company
Date: 10/3/2001
Response: The Safety Board has received no reply from Lyondell regarding Safety Recommendation I-01-05. The Board is vitally interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety, and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all our recommendations. A copy of the original recommendation letter is enclosed for your reference. Please refer to Safety Recommendation I-01-05 in your reply, and address your response to Ms. Marion C. Blakey, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board.