Formosa Plastics Corp. USA will continue to have a smaller operation in Illiopolis, Ill., but the firm won't rebuild the PVC resin plant that was destroyed in an explosion and fire almost three years ago.
An official with Livingston, N.J.-based Formosa said Jan. 5 that the firm is considering a warehousing or compounding facility in Illiopolis that might also include some resin feedstock production. No timetable has been set for establishing the smaller operation. Formosa still has a handful of employees at the site, which employed 135 at the time of the April 2004 blast in which five workers were killed.
``The plan is to have a presence'' in Illiopolis, the official said. ``But it's not economical to rebuild [the resin plant] there.''
Officials with Livingston, N.J.-based Formosa originally said the firm would rebuild the plant, but then in April 2005 said it was considering other locations for a new plant that would make the specialty PVC grades made in Illiopolis. The plant had been a major North American supplier of flooring-grade PVC.
A company official said Jan. 5 that customers will continue to be supplied with that material from a Formosa plant in Delaware City, Del.
At the time of the accident, Formosa was the largest employer in Illiopolis, a town of about 900 residents. The site was opened as an ammunitions plant during World War II and had produced plastic since 1954. It has had several owners over the years, including Borden Chemicals & Plastics LP, which sold it to Formosa in 2002.
In 2005, Formosa paid a $300,000 Occupational Safety and Health Administration fine for safety violations discovered in a post-accident investigation.
Fire also struck a Formosa plastic feedstock plant in Point Comfort, Texas, in October 2005. That incident resulted in 12 injuries and a $148,000 OSHA fine, which recently was reduced to $75,000.