For reasons as yet unknown, an explosion followed by a fire occurred in the tank farm of a waste incineration plant at Chempark Leverkusen, Germany, on the morning of July 27. A tank farm with chlorinated solvents had caught fire. Several employees were injured in the incident, at least two were killed, and others are still missing.
A large black cloud formed. Residents were asked to stay in their homes. The German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance had classified the explosion as an “extreme threat.” Some 360 emergency personnel were deployed to support local authorities. The local fire department examined the air throughout the city for toxins. However, the results remained “unremarkable,” so the all-clear could be given for the area. However, residents were advised not to carry soot particles into their homes, not consume fruits and vegetables from their gardens, and remove their footwear when entering their house. According to the local environmental agency, the cloud might have contained dioxin, and investigations are ongoing as to whether harmful concentrations had been reached.
With around 31,500 employees, Chempark Leverkusen is one of the most versatile chemical sites in the world. More than 5,000 chemicals are produced here on an area of 480 hectares. The focus is on nitration and chlorination products, aromatics, fine chemicals, and silicon chemistry. In the Chempark’s waste disposal and recycling center, chemically contaminated hazardous waste is recycled at the highest technical level. The Chempark industrial park is operated by Currenta.
- Currenta GmbH & Co. OHG, Leverkusen, Germany