Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group chemical spill

Last updated

The Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group chemical spill was a severe chemical spill that occurred in Shanxi Province, China during 2012–13. More than 39 tons of anilines (toxic chemicals widely used as precursors in the manufacture of pigment, [1] herbicides [2] and other chemicals) leaked from a loose drainage valve at a plant owned by Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group in the Shanxi city of Changzhi. This chemical spill contaminated the Zhuozhang River which is the source of drinking water for more than one million people, and so caused a water crisis in the downstream City of Handan, Hebei Province.

Shanxi Province

Shanxi is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋", after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn period.

China State in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Aniline chemical compound

Aniline is an organic compound with the formula C6H5NH2. Consisting of a phenyl group attached to an amino group, aniline is the prototypical aromatic amine. Its main use is in the manufacture of precursors to polyurethane and other industrial chemicals. Like most volatile amines, it has the odor of rotten fish. It ignites readily, burning with a smoky flame characteristic of aromatic compounds.

Contents

Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group

Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group is one of the five largest state-owned coal companies in Shanxi. [3] They use a water-intensive gasification process to convert coal to chemicals that are critical for a wide range of products. According to a Greenpeace report, [4] the factory owned by Tianji Industry Group in Changzhi dumps more than six million tons of wastewater per year. In 2010 and 2011, Tianji was judged by Shanxi’s environmental protection bureau to be polluting above normal levels in four quarters and was fined each time.

Gasification process that converts organic or fossil fuel based carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide

Gasification is a process that converts organic- or fossil fuel-based carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures (>700 °C), without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas or producer gas and is itself a fuel. The power derived from gasification and combustion of the resultant gas is considered to be a source of renewable energy if the gasified compounds were obtained from biomass.

Coal A combustible sedimentary rock composed primarily of carbon

Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed if dead plant matter decays into peat and over millions of years the heat and pressure of deep burial converts the peat into coal.

Aniline leak

An aniline leak occurred on December 31, 2012 due to a poor-quality metal hose. About 39 tons of aniline, a potential carcinogen, went into the drainage from the fertilizer factory. Thirty tons were contained by a reservoir, but nearly nine tons leaked into the Zhuozhang River. A large amount of dead fish was seen in the upper reaches of the Zhuozhang River. Leaked aniline traveled along the Zhang River and reached reservoirs in neighboring cities.

A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. Several radioactive substances are considered carcinogens, but their carcinogenic activity is attributed to the radiation, for example gamma rays and alpha particles, which they emit. Common examples of non-radioactive carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Although the public generally associates carcinogenicity with synthetic chemicals, it is equally likely to arise in both natural and synthetic substances. Carcinogens are not necessarily immediately toxic; thus, their effect can be insidious.

Fertilizer material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soils or leaves to supply plant nutrients for better growth

A fertilizer or fertiliser is any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soils or to plant tissues to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Many sources of fertilizer exist, both natural and industrially produced.

Zhang River river in the Peoples Republic of China

The Zhang River is a tributary of the Wei River in China. The river commences at the confluence of the rivers Qingzhang and Zhuozhang, where between She county of Hebei and Linzhou of Henan, then joins the Wei River in Guantao county, Hebei. A dam on the Zhang River diverts water into the Red Flag Canal.

Water crisis

The contaminated Zhuozhang River feeds into the Zhang River, which is a source of drinking water for Shanxi, Hebei and Henan provinces. Therefore, the spill affected at least 28 villages and a handful of cities of more than one million people, including Handan. After receiving confirmation of this chemical spill, officials in Handan shut down part of its municipal water supply system, [5] which sent residents into a scramble for bottled water. In the countryside, officials also told farmers not to graze their livestock near the river. Fire engines were mobilized to bring water to the city's residents and 66,000 bottles of clean water were bought in from other cities. Underground reservoirs were also opened to support the city’s water use.

Hebei Province

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili Province or Chihli Province. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

Henan Province

Henan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州) which literally means "central plain land" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

Handan Prefecture-level city in Hebei, Peoples Republic of China

Handan is a prefecture-level city located in the southwest of Hebei province, China. The southernmost prefecture-level city of the province, it borders Xingtai on the north, and the provinces of Shanxi on the west, Henan on the south and Shandong on the east. At the 2010 census, its population was 9,174,683 inhabitants whom 2,845,790 lived in the built-up area made of 3 urban districts, Handan and Yangyan counties, and Shahe City in Xintai municipality, largely being conurbated now.

River cleanup

Nearly 5000 workers were called in for an immediate clean-up of the river. [6] Because of the low temperature, a large part of contaminants was stopped by ice in the river. 670 tons of contaminated ice and more than 750 tons of wastewater have been cleared away. Activated carbon was also used to absorb the chemicals remaining in the unfrozen water below. [7] After several days of cleanup, concentrations of aniline in the river decreased to 2.15 mg/L from the previous level of 72 mg/L, according to data from Wangjiazhuang monitoring station on Zhuozhang river near the eastern border of Shanxi province. [8] However, based on national standards, the concentration should be less than 0.1 mg/L. Since the pollutants are not expected to decompose easily, it took weeks to solve the problems caused by this spill.

Activated carbon form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area

Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Activated is sometimes substituted with active.

Delayed report

After the aniline leak occurred, officials in Changzhi delayed reporting the spill for five days. The reason for delay is not clear, but it may be due to the large underestimations of the amount of leaked anilines in the first few days after spills. According to the regulation passed by the State Council in 2007, an institution responsible for an accident should report within an hour to the production safety department of a county-level government or higher. The report should reach a higher level of government within two hours. The mayor of Changzhi has apologized for the delay in reporting the spill affecting supplies of drinking water. [9]

Changzhi Prefecture-level city in Shanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Changzhi is a prefecture-level city in the southeast of Shanxi Province, China, bordering the provinces of Hebei and Henan to the northeast and east, respectively. Historically, the city was one of the 36 administrative areas extant under the reign of the first emperor of a unified China.

Punishment

After investigation into this spill, 24 managers in the company who were responsible for supervision were given administrative disciplinary sanctions. The mayor of Changzhi was removed from his position. Two heads of the plant's storage workshop were fired. [10]

Challenges

The conflict over the Changzhi spill has drawn attention to the growing problems with water use and pollution in China. In 2011, inspections in 200 cities across China found that water in 55 percent of the tests was rated “fairly poor to extremely poor”. [11] During the last ten years, China has witnessed major pollution incidents due to the pursuit of economic benefit and the neglect of pollution control by local governments and enterprises. Deficiencies in emergency mechanisms to handle environmental incidents at some local governments worsen the pollution problems. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Pollution introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution. In 2015, pollution killed 9 million people in the world.

Oil spill Release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually given to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

Environmental disaster disaster to the natural environment due to human activity

An environmental disaster or ecological disaster is a catastrophic event regarding the environment due to human activity. This distinguishes it from the concept of a natural disaster. It is also distinct from intentional acts of war such as nuclear bombings.

PetroChina Chinese oil and gas company

PetroChina Company Limited is a Chinese oil and gas company and is the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), headquartered in Dongcheng District, Beijing. It is China's second biggest oil producer. Traded in Hong Kong and New York, the mainland enterprise announced its plans to issue stock in Shanghai in November 2007, and subsequently entered the constituent of SSE 50 Index.

Linfen Prefecture-level city in Shanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Linfen is a prefecture-level city in the southwest of Shanxi province, People's Republic of China, bordering Shaanxi province to the west. It is situated along the banks of the Fen River. It has an area of 20,275 square kilometres (7,828 sq mi) and according to the 2010 Census, a population of 4,316,612 inhabitants of which 944,050 live in the built-up area made up of Yaodu urban district. The GDP of Linfen ranked second in Shanxi Province. It was known as Pingyang (平陽) during the Spring and Autumn period. In 2006, the American Blacksmith Institute listed Linfen as one of the ten most polluted cities in the world.

2005 Jilin chemical plant explosions

The Jilin chemical plant explosions were a series of explosions which occurred on November 13, 2005, in the No.101 Petrochemical Plant in Jilin City, Jilin Province, China, over the period of an hour. The explosions killed six, injured dozens, and caused the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

Water resources of China Geography, cleanliness, and access to water

The water resources of China are affected by both severe water shortages and severe growing population and rapid economic development as well as lax environmental oversight have increased water demand and pollution. China has responded by measures such as rapidly building out the water infrastructure and increasing regulation as well as exploring a number of further technological solutions.

Soil contamination pollution of land by human-made chemicals or other alteration

Soil contamination or soil pollution as part of land degradation is caused by the presence of xenobiotic (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. It is typically caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals, or improper disposal of waste. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals. Contamination is correlated with the degree of industrialization and intensity of chemical substance. The concern over soil contamination stems primarily from health risks, from direct contact with the contaminated soil, vapors from the contaminants, and from secondary contamination of water supplies within and underlying the soil. Mapping of contaminated soil sites and the resulting cleanups are time consuming and expensive tasks, requiring extensive amounts of geology, hydrology, chemistry, computer modeling skills, and GIS in Environmental Contamination, as well as an appreciation of the history of industrial chemistry.

Pollution in China

Pollution in China is one aspect of the broader topic of environmental issues in China. Various forms of pollution have increased as China has industrialised, which has caused widespread environmental and health problems.

Environment of Russia

The environment of Russia

Ansul

Ansul is a corporation headquartered in Marinette, Wisconsin that manufactures fire suppression systems, extinguishers, and offers fire training. Ansul’s initial activities included production of cattle feed, refrigerants and selected specialty chemicals. The name Ansul comes from ANhydrous SULfur dioxide (SO2), which was sold to die works and fruit preservers, and later as a refrigerant. Production of fire suppression chemicals began in 1934. Virginia Chemicals, Inc. (now part of Celanese Corporation) acquired the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Products Division of The Ansul Company in 1967, and by 1983 Ansul had discontinued all other production at the facility in Marinette. The US government is a major customer for Ansul.

Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a gasoline additive used as an oxygenate and to raise the octane number. Its use has declined in the United States in response to environmental and health concerns. It has polluted groundwater due to MTBE-containing gasoline being spilled or leaked at gas stations. MTBE spreads more easily underground than other gasoline components due to its higher solubility in water. Cost estimates for removing MTBE from groundwater and contaminated soil range from $1 to $30 billion, including removing the compound from aquifers and municipal water supplies, and replacing leaky underground oil tanks. Who will pay for remediation is controversial. In one case, the cost to oil companies to clean up the MTBE in wells belonging to the city of Santa Monica, California is estimated to exceed $200 million.

The Yellow River oil spill was an oil spill in the Yellow River in Shaanxi, China which took place due to the rupturing of a segment of Lanzhou-Zhengzhou oil pipeline on December 30, 2009. Approximately 150,000 l (40,000 US gal) of diesel oil flowed down the Wei River before finally reaching the Yellow River, the source of drinking water for millions of people, on January 4, 2010.

2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill pollution

The 2000 Baia Mare cyanide spill was a leak of cyanide near Baia Mare, Romania, into the Someș River by the gold mining company Aurul, a joint-venture of the Australian company Esmeralda Exploration and the Romanian government.

Pollution in Canada

Pollution is an environmental issue in Canada. It has posed health risks to the Canadian population and is an area of concern for Canadian lawmakers. Air, water and soil pollution as well as the health effects associated with these three types of pollution, are prominent points of contention in modern Canadian society.

The Handan–Changzhi railway or Hanchang railway, is a major railroad in northern China for the transportation of coal. The railway is named after its terminal cities, Handan in Hebei Province and Changzhi in Shanxi Province. The line is 221.7 km (138 mi) in length and was built from 1971 to 1983.

2014 Elk River chemical spill chemical spill in Charleston in the U.S. state of West Virginia

The Elk River chemical spill occurred on January 9, 2014 when crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) was released from a Freedom Industries facility into the Elk River, a tributary of the Kanawha River, in Charleston in the U.S. state of West Virginia.

The Shanxi–Henan–Shandong railway or the Jinyulu railway, also known as the Shanxi South Central railway or the Watang–Rizhao railway, is an electrified double-track heavy freight railway across northern China. The line runs 1,260 km (780 mi) from the village of Watang in Lüliang, Shanxi Province to the port of Rizhao in Shandong Province, and is named after the three provinces through which it passes Jin (Shanxi), Yu (Henan) and Lu (Shandong). The line is the world's longest heavy freight railway and is designed to facilitate the export of coal from Shanxi to overseas markets. The line can accommodate train speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph). Cities along route include Lüliang, Liulin, Hongdong, Changzhi and Pingshun in Shanxi; Linzhou, Anyang, Tangyin, Puyang, Hebi, Fan County and Taiqian County in Henan; Liangshan County, Dongping, Ningyang, Xintai, Laiwu, Yiyuan, Yishui, Ju County, Junan and Rizhao in Shandong. The line was built from 2010 to 2014 and operations began on December 30, 2014.

2014 Dan River coal ash spill

In February 2014, an Eden, North Carolina facility owned by Duke Energy spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. The company later pled guilty to criminal negligence in their handling of coal ash at Eden and elsewhere and paid substantial fines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since been responsible for overseeing cleanup of the waste. EPA and Duke Energy signed an administrative order for the site cleanup.

References

  1. Fei Xuening, Zhang Tianyong, Zhou Chunlong, Modification study involving a Naphthol as red pigment, Dyes and Pigments, Volume 44, Issue 2, January 2000, Pages 75-80, ISSN   0143-7208, doi : 10.1016/S0143-7208(99)00072-8.
  2. Lyons, C. D., Katz, S. E., and Bartha, R.: Persistence and mutagenic potential of herbicide-derived aniline residues in pond water, B Environ Contam Tox, 35, 696-703, doi : 10.1007/bf01636575, 1985.
  3. Current conditions and development of Tianji Group Company, in Chinese
  4. Greenpeace Report, Tianji pollution remains (in Chinese), Jan 2013 in Shanxi Province
  5. China.org.cn Report, Aniline Spills, Jan 2013
  6. TheAtlantic Report, China's Poison-Filled River, Jan 2013
  7. Chinadaily Report, Chemical leak into river puts focus on plant, Jan 11th 2013
  8. China org Report, Officials sacked over chemical leaks in N. China river, Jan 7th 2013
  9. UPI Report, Chemical spill poisons drinking water, Jan 8th 2013
  10. Xinhua Net Report, 39 punished over N China chemical leak, Feb 20th 2013
  11. New York Times Report, Spill in China Underlines Environmental Concerns, March 3rd 2013
  12. China org Report, Officials sacked over chemical leaks in N. China river, Jan 7th 2013