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Standard Chlorine of Delaware; Delaware City, Delaware

Delaware City, Delaware | 1986-Jan-05

Initial Notification: At 0215 on January 5, 1986, tank no. 404 at the Standard Chlorine of Delaware facility in Delaware City failed explosively, releasing over 562,936 gallons of a dichlorobenzene mother liquor. The explosion damaged other tanks and plumbing in the immediate area and spilled the following chemicals: 319,600 gallons of paradichlorobenzene at approximately 95% purity, 53,968 gallons of trichlorobenzene with some paradichlorobenzene; 81,134 gallons of trichlorobenzene with some paradichlorobenzene; and 108,234 gallons of paradichlorobenzene. The mixtures of trichlorobenzene are reported to be composed of approximately 70% 1,2,4 trichlorobenzene and 20% 1,2,3 trichlorobenzene. The initial wave of paradichlorobenzene was approximately 180 degrees F and flowed east onto the Standard Chlorine facility. This wave, and the following waves of trichlorobenzene and dichlorobenzene, flowed north along railroad tracks and down a draw that feeds an unnamed tributary creek to Red Lion Creek. The paradichlorobenzene mixture solidified, forming a crust several centimeters thick along the bottom and sides of the tributary, and spread into the floodplain and tidal marsh at the mouth of the creek. A liquid component (reportedly trichlorobenzene) sank into the stream and oscillated along the stream bed. Solid chemical material was reported under the water on the bottom of the south shore of Red Lion Creek at the mouth of the creek. USCG district 3.

Incident Details
Products of concern:Dichlorobenzene mother liquor, paradichlorobenzene, trichlorobenzene
Total amount at risk of spill: 100,000,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 39° 34.56′ North
Longitude (approximate): 75° 35.57′ West