Description: Proceeding by Texas county alleging that chemical manufacturer that operated facility that flooded and where chemicals ignited during Hurricane Harvey violated local floodplain regulations and state air and water laws.
Harris County v. Arkema, Inc.
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/16/2017 Petition Download Petition and application for permanent injunction filed. Texas County Filed Lawsuit Against Chemical Manufacturer That Owned Facility Where Fires Burned After Harvey. Harris County, Texas, filed a petition in state court against Arkema, Inc. alleging, among other things, that a chemical manufacturing facility owned and operated by Arkema did not have required permits under the County’s Floodplain Regulations for one or more structures that sit beneath base flood elevation. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, the facility flooded, causing its primary and backup power to go offline. The County alleged that without refrigeration, the temperatures of certain organic peroxides manufactured at the facility increased to their “self-accelerating decomposition temperatures,” the point at which the chemicals begin a “chemical decomposition process that leads to rapid burning,” leading to fires and unauthorized air emissions. The flooding also resulted in industrial wastewater overflowing wastewater tanks and their containment dikes. The County asserted that Arkema had violated the Texas Clean Air Act and the Texas Water Code. The County sought civil penalties, response costs, and injunctive relief, including ordering an independent third-party audit of the facility’s disaster preparedness and implementation of the auditor’s recommendations and ordering Arkema to obtain all required permits under the Floodplain Regulations.