Eastman reported 3 sewage releases on same day as steam line failure | WJHL

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – An estimated 300,000 gallons of sewage and 40 pounds of hydraulic oil were released into the South Fork of the Holston River from Eastman Chemical’s Kingsport plant on January 31the day of a massive steam line break there.

These were two of three sewage-related spills summarized in a Feb. 4 email from an Eastman environmental operations manager to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The discharge associated with the hydraulic oil leak did not end until late morning on February 4.

Eastman’s James Smith wrote that Eastman notified the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Response Center of the releases. The first, which released about 300,000 gallons (2.4 million pounds) of sewage into the river, was reported at 8 a.m. Jan. 31 to the EPA. At that time, sewage from the company’s “influent pumping station” was being discharged into the river at 20,000 gallons per minute.

“The cause of the event was a loss of power to the pump in the tributary pumping station of building 386 which caused the IPS sewage to overflow from the sump walls, discharging into the storm sewer and then into the river,” Smith wrote. This power outage lasted about 15 minutes and occurred shortly after the steam line burst that locals reported hearing from miles away.

Smith’s email notes that the estimated total release does not exceed a “reportable quantity” set by the federal government, but adds that Eastman informed downstream users “(i) with an excess of caution.” These users include Hawkins County’s First Utility District, the City of Morristown Water Treatment Plant, and industrial users Domtar and BAE.

The segment states that, according to Eastman’s estimate, “no adverse effects on fish or aquatic life have been observed”, and adds that no health risks are known to be associated with the release. . He also reports that Eastman staff took action to stop the dump “immediately.”

This same wildlife and health effects summary is repeated in Smith’s summary of the other two January 31 events. The same goes for the facts that Eastman notified downstream users and took immediate action to stop the releases.

A second occurrence involved people from Eastman who noticed a burst at the company’s so-called “big lock” on the river. The EPA was notified of this incident at approximately 2:15 p.m. on January 31.

An initial investigation by Eastman determined that several Eastman facilities on Long Island had their “deluge systems” activated. The flow from those who “submerged” a sewer lift station on Long Island, which normally pumps the flow to Eastman’s own sewage treatment plant. The overflows were released through the company’s 004 outlet and ended at 11:10 p.m. on January 31, the report said.

The final notification from the EPA on Jan. 31 came around 3:25 p.m. and also reported a burst on the river from the Eastman industrial sewage system. “Material released was hydraulic oil and estimated quantity is 40 (pounds) resulting in a visible chip,” Smith wrote.

The email to TDEC does not specify when Eastman believes the discharge began, but does indicate that the suspected cause is the inability of the company’s building 102 chilled water units to fail to shut down. The overflow entered the basement of the industrial sewer system “and subsequently into the river” before ending four days later.

The full email from Eastman officials at TDEC can be read below.


For complete coverage of Eastman Steam Line Failure, click here.

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