The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control authorized the ethylene oxide plant at the Croda Atlas Point facility near New Castle to restart solely for the purpose of conducting an emissions test.
The plant has been idle for two years after a leak that led to the closing of the Delaware Memorial Bridge on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, one of the biggest travel days of the year.
Ethylene oxide is a potentially deadly chemical that is used in the production of chemicals used at the Croda plant. It was determined that the emissions did not go beyond the plant’s boundary.
The test will be followed by a shutdown and a department decision on restarting the site. The plant had a failed emissions test, known as a “stack test” in September that led to a recently issued Notice of Violation for air emission and equipment violations.
The plant will start up the first week of January and the test will be conducted the second week of January, as the plant must be fully operational for the test.
During the test, DNREC staff will be on site and ethylene oxide levels and scrubber performance will be known in real time.
A public information session was held virtually with about 75 participants on November 19 to answer questions and take comments about Croda’s operations and about the notice of violation. A list of questions that came up at the session with responses for the community, available at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/croda-atlas-point/.