D&L: Fumes at QC plant ‘under control’
FOOD and plastic input manufacturing group D&L Industries suspended the operations of its factory in Bagumbayan, Quezon City after nearby residents complained of fumes and unpleasant odor starting Sunday afternoon.
But the fumes had been “under control” in the immediate vicinity as of 6am on Monday and the odor continued to weaken as of 8 am, D&L reported to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.
“The company continues to spray water over the tank to dilute vapor and dissipate the odor,” D&L said in the disclosure to the local bourse.
In light of recent events, D&L said operations at this plant operated by Chemrez Inc. – one of the six plants under the group – were currently suspended and would likely continue to be put on hold in the next few days. In a separate statement, D&L unit Chemrez Inc. – which owns the plant – said mopping up and cleaning operations were underway and the plant was expected to resume full operation by Tuesday, November 24.
“The suspension will affect 35 percent of Chemrez’s production or about 10 percent of D&L Industries’ total production,” D&L said, adding that “impact on sales is likely negligible.”
Shares of D&L were down by about 1.8 percent as of 10:40 am in Monday morning trade. By the end of the trading, D&L reversed early losses, firming up by one centavo or 0.11 percent to close at P9.51 per share. The company had a market capitalization of P67.86 billion as of Monday’s closing.
Chemrez Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chemrez Technologies, which is one of the wholly-owned subsidiaries of D&L Industries.
As of the first nine months of 2015, Chemrez Technologies contributed 33 percent and 32 percent of D&L’s revenues and net income, respectively.
D&L reported on Sunday that at 1:48 pm of the same day, fumes from the Chemrez plastic plant in Calle Industria had spread around the plant site and was carried by the breeze to the surrounding barangay from Circulo Verde to Nuvo City on C5.
The company reported that fumes had emanated from the vents of a storage tank containing monomer, the raw material used in making polymers like polystyrene plastic pellets.
“The fumes were caused by heat generated when monomer starts to polymerize. As it polymerizes, it generates fumes which come out of the vapor relief valve installed on the roof of the storage tank,” the company said on Sunday.
The company noted that the built-in sprinkler system and the cooling lines to the storage tank were all operational to keep the temperature down and fumes under control and that all safety precautions were “active and conditions are under control.”
In a separate statement from Dean Lao Jr., managing director of Chemrez Inc., it was reported that as of 4:15 am on Monday, fumes from the plastic plant of Chemrez Inc. has dissipated. “This was aided by a constant spray of fresh water drawn from the fire hydrant at Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, QC. Water is being sprayed over the tank and fumes to dilute any vapor and dissipate the odor,” Lao said.
“There has been no fire, no leakage and no spill in this incident from start to finish. Odor emanated from the pressure relief valve of the plant’s monomer storage tank,” he said.
Various teams and fire fighters from the company and some volunteers had been on site and on standby in case of any hazards on Sunday.
As to whether the fumes were dangerous, Lao explained: “The fumes can cause irritation if inhaled in huge quantity and prolonged exposure may cause dizziness and respiratory irritation.”
“Those bothered by the odor are advised to avoid the area until the air is cleared. In severe cases of inhalation, the vapor can irritate nose and throat. If it causes nausea, loss of appetite and general weakness, find fresh air. If person has difficulty breathing or is dizzy, rest in well ventilated area,” Lao said.
Some residents complained through social media that the odor was still present in the wee hours as of 2 am on Monday. Some irate said the unpleasant smell was still there as of 2:30 am reaching as far as Barangay Manggahan in Pasig. Some reported vacating the area due to dizziness brought about by the fumes.
Through Twitter, Lao also offered to provide hotel accommodations at Microtel Acropolis to affected residents.
“Chemrez has coordinated with local communities within the vicinity and city officials for all concerns,” he said.
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