Accident: EQ Hazardous Waste Plant Explosions and Fire
Location: Location: Apex, NC
Accident Occured On: 10/05/2006 | Final Report Released On: 04/16/2008
Accident Type: Community Impact
Investigation Status: The CSB's final report was issued at a news conference on April 16, 2008.
Explosions and fire at a hazardous waste facility forced the evacuation of approximately 16,000 residents from Apex, North Carolina, on October 5, 2006. The incident likely began in the oxidizer section of the EQ North Carolina waste facility, where chemicals such as pool chlorination tablets were stored. The fire was allowed to burn out and the facility was destroyed.
Ensure that the emergency response planning required for permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (40 CFR 264.37) includes providing written information to state and local emergency response officials on the type, approximate quantities, and locations of materials within the facility (similar to reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act). Additionally, ensure that permit holders periodically update this information throughout the ten-year permit period.
Petition the National Fire Protection Association, following the guidelines of their "Codes and Standards Development Process" (http://www.nfpa.org/index.asp), to develop a fire protection standard (occupancy standard) specific to hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. This standard should address fire prevention, detection, control, and suppression requirements.
Note: This recommendation was superseded by 2009-10-I-OH-R6, issued pursuant to the Veolia Environmental Services Flammable Vapor Explosion and Fire Case Study (2010).
Develop standardized guidance for the handling and storage of hazardous waste to reduce the likelihood of releases and fires at hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.
Note: This recommendation was superseded by 2009-10-I-OH-R7, issued pursuant to the Veolia Environmental Services Flammable Vapor Explosion and Fire Case Study (2010).
Revise and or develop company procedures and policies to require and ensure that unspent chemical oxygen generators that have exceeded their service life be actuated so that the chemical core is expended before shipping by any transport mode.
Review and revise as necessary company procedures and policies for transporting hazardous waste to ensure that hazardous waste is correctly characterized on the shipping manifest.
Communicate to all of your waste brokers and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities to which unspent oxygen generators were shipped:
- the hazards associated with unspent chemical oxygen generators and
- that the incorrect shipping name and UN code was, or might have been used, for unspent chemical oxygen generators shipped from your facility.