Chemical Leak Shuts Down South Carolina Interstate

Posted on 7/29/2022 by Roger Marks

On July 27 at about 5:45 PM, a chemical release from a specialty chemicals facility near Interstate 20 in Elgin, SC led local officials to close a ten-mile stretch of highway as emergency crews worked to contain the leak.

A plume or ‘white haze” seen in the area was determined to be a vapor mix of nitric acid and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that leaked from a tank outside of the facility. The facility was immediately evacuated and no injuries were reported.

To protect the public, officials established a perimeter around the facility while the incident was investigated. The South Carolina Department of Health (DHEC) stated that, based on the information available, there are no public health concerns. 

Following the incident, the company released a statement that reads in part: 
First and foremost, we have the highest regard for the safety of our employees, our environment, and our neighbors. All employees were evacuated immediately, and there was full notification to the authorities. There were no injuries. The authorities are on site assisting in response and have set up a secure perimeter. They are assessing the situation to determine when that perimeter can be reduced. We are following their lead, and providing full technical support throughout this incident to ensure the safety of the people around us is maintained until the event is complete. We will not bring the unit back online until we can complete a full investigation and understand the source of the issue.
The company updated its statement at 7 AM on July 29:
All plant operations have returned to normal operating status. The vessel involved in the incident has been taken out of service until all internal investigations are complete, repairs have been made, and it is returned to normal production.

The statement was posted to the Kershaw County Facebook page.

What are Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)?

Nitrogen oxides are a group of highly reactive gases that includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrous acid, and nitric acid. Exposure to high concentrations of nitrogen oxides can irritate the respiratory system.

NOx are among the “criteria pollutants” for which US EPA has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards or NAAQS. In areas where the concentration level rises above the NAAQS, facilities face more stringent pollution control, reporting, and permitting requirements for building or modifying sources of air pollution.

When they interact with oxygen, water, and atmospheric substances, nitrogen oxides can contribute to the phenomenon of acid rain.

Chemical Leak Shuts Down South Carolina Interstate

Build Environmental Expertise At Your Own Pace

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, and more—is a major challenge.

If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, Lion's Complete Environmental Regulations online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

More environmental compliance online training:
Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online 
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online


Tags: chemicals, release reporting

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor was very knowledgeable and provided pertinent information above and beyond the questions that were asked.

Johnny Barton

Logistics Coordinator

Very well structured, comprehensive, and comparable to live training seminars I've participated in previously. I will recommend the online course to other colleagues with training requirement needs.

Neil Luciano

EHS Manager

I was able to present my scenario to the instructor and worked thru the regulations together. In the past, I attended another training firm's classes. Now, I have no intention of leaving Lion!

Diana Joyner

Senior Environmental Engineer

I chose Lion's online webinar because it is simple, effective, and easily accessible.

Jeremy Bost

Environmental Health & Safety Technician

Energetic/enthusiastic! Made training enjoyable, understandable and fun!

Amanda Walsh

Hazardous Waste Professional

This is a very informative training compared to others. It covers everything I expect to learn and even a lot of new things.

Quatama Jackson

Waste Management Professional

Excellent class, super instructor, very easy to follow. No rushing through material. Would like to take his class again.

Lawrence Patterson

EH&S Facility Maintenance & Security Manager

Having the tutorial buttons for additional information was extremely beneficial.

Sharon Ziemek

EHS Manager

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

Our instructor was very dynamic and kept everyone's interest. Hazmat shipping can be a dry, complicated topic but I was engaged the entire time.

Kimberly Arnao

Senior Director of EH&S

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Use this guide to spot which tanks and substances are regulated under EPA's Underground Storage Tank program, and which are excluded as of October 2018.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.