Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is responding to a styrene monomer leak from a rail car at its plant in Selkirk, N.Y.
Some local businesses were evacuated as a result of the leak and area residents were asked to shelter in place, local media reports said Sept. 1. Local police and fire crews responded to the scene around 6 a.m. on that date.
No injuries were reported and firefighters were working to cool down the rail car, which had overheated, according to media reports. Some local roads also were closed.
In a statement sent to Plastics News, plant manager Liz Miakisz said that Sabic "is responding to this incident as quickly as possible. She added that the firm "is committed to using every resource necessary to effectively address this incident because the health and safety of our employees, community, and the environment are our primary concern."
Sabic stopped the relief valve on the rail car from venting and continues to cool the rail car with water to minimize the risk of additional venting, according to Miakisz. The firm is awaiting materials needed to stop potential further reaction that caused the venting.
"We are fully collaborating with state and local emergency responders on this matter," Miakisz said. "We are working jointly with them to ensure the community remains safe. We want to thank them for all the support they are providing with the response of the incident and the investigation."
Styrene monomer is used as a feedstock to make polystyrene and other plastics. Sabic makes specialty resins and compounds in Selkirk, including some based on its Noryl product line. The site also is used for materials research and development.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent state police and other personnel to the site. In a news release, Cuomo said that the leak "has been halted and state personnel are on the scene now working to contain any potential spread."
"While this is an evolving situation, it is currently under control and we will continue coordinating with local officials and mobilize any resources necessary to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers in the affected area," he added.
Sabic is a global supplier of commodity and engineering resins that employs 33,000. The firm is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. headquarters in Houston.