DuPont fined for 2010 chemicals release

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DuPont Co. has been fined almost $1.3 million for the release of several chemicals — including plastics feedstock phosgene — at its plant in Belle, W. Va.

The $1.275 million fine was announced in an Aug. 27 news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. The chemical releases occurred between 2006 and 2010 and included phosgene, methyl chloride, oleum and methanol.

The release of phosgene — used in polycarbonate and polyurethane production — took place on Jan. 23, 2010, when a hose containing that material ruptured, resulting in the death of a DuPont worker.

“Producing toxic and hazardous substances can be dangerous, and requires complying with environmental and safety laws,” EPA assistant administrator Cynthia Giles said in the release.

Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont estimates that it will spend almost $2.3 million on improvements to its safety and emergency response processes at the Belle plant. The firm already has spent almost $6.9 million on corrective measures there following an EPA administrative order that was issued in March 2010.

In an Aug. 28 email, a DuPont spokesman said that the firm “remains committed to meeting all regulatory requirements and operating at the highest standards for protection of our employees, contractors, community and the environment.”