Ethanol Plant Incidents

This web page was last modified June 27, 2012 at 3:58 AM.

Ethanol fire burns through the night at Kembla, Australia tank farm

The best-laid plans o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promised joy.

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Didion Ethanol Caustic Chemical Spill

July chemical spill follows June mash spill

July 26th, 2009, Cambria, WI : A failed valve is blamed in the early Sunday morning release of 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of a caustic sodium hydroxide solution at the Didion Ethanol plant next to Cambria. The spill followed essentially the same course as last month’s mash spill. Some of the liquid made it’s way into the wetlands west of the plant.

Trail of corn mash runs past Didion Ethanol plant in Cambria, Wisconsin

The trail left behind after a river of spilled corn mash flowed past Didion Ethanol’s visitors center entrance early Thursday morning.

Massive Spill At Didion Ethanol

Mash enters wetlands on south side of Cambria, WI

June 5th, 2009, Cambria, WI : A botched safety inspection was to blame for a massive early Thursday morning corn mash release at the Didion Ethanol plant bordering Cambria. 30,000 to 40,000 gallons of the thick, fetid liquid flowed past the entrance to the “Travel Green Wisconsin” visitor’s entrance, making its way to a stormwater retention pond and on into the wetlands beyond. Cleanup efforts were still under way as of Friday.

Didion spill photo 1 and Didion spill photo 2

2008 Emergency Response Guide : A Guidebook For First Responders During The Initial Phase Of A Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident

This is the handbook for first responders. It’s an aid in identifying and responding to hazardous situations in the event of transportation related spills and so on. Ever wonder what’s in that tanker trundling through your town? Look it up here.

Fire at Badger State Ethanol Plant

Small fire and explosion in silo

June 23rd, 2007 – Silo fire draws crowd by Brian Gray – Monroe Times
“There was suddenly a whistling sound and heavy black smoke from the auger area and the mail (sic) silo walk-in door,” Briggs said. “The top of the silo began to crease inward at the silo cap.”

Disaster in Baltimore

Driver killed in fiery tanker crash

May 13th, 2007 – Ramp remains closed one day after fiery crash by Richard Irwin and Arin Gencer – Baltimore Sun
A tanker rig overturned and burst into flames yesterday evening on a curving interstate ramp over Baltimore’s South Hanover Street, killing the driver and sending a burning stream of its load of ethanol into the street below, igniting a row of parked vehicles, authorities said.

May 13th, 2007 Baltimore ethanol tanker fire

Television news coverage of crash.

Disaster In Western Pennsylvania

Disaster declared after ethanol tanker train explodes and burns

Ethanol tanker train disaster in western Pennsylvania

October 22nd, 2006 – Massive rail cleanup in New Brighton : Investigation begins into derailment of 23 Norfolk Southern tankers carrying ethanol by Dennis B. Roddy – Pittsburg Post–Gazette

Emergency crews in New Brighton last night began the delicate task of off-loading nearly 100,000 gallons of explosive ethanol from overturned rail cars, while several other derailed tankers blazed nearby.
Ethanol tank cars burn as they dangle off of a Pennsylvania railroad bridge

Strictly speaking, this doesn't qualify as an incident. It is an alarming report about the growing list of environmental violations committed by players in the rapidly expanding ethanol industry in Iowa.

September 11th, 2005 – Ethanol plants among Iowa’s polluters – from The Des Moines Register : The issue — Iowa's 17 ethanol plants — which produce a corn–based fuel trumpeted as less–polluting than regular gasoline — have contaminated the state’s rivers and air. At times, developers built plants without the required state permits designed to limit pollution. State officials learned about some of the new plants by reading newspapers.

Various Industrial Disasters and Incidents Connected with Ethanol Production

Some items in this list are compiled from the incident logs at Industrial Fire World Magazine's web site and from AcuTech's AcuSafe® web site.

An Interesting Case

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