Chem Central Fire

Site Contact:
Don Lininger
On-Scene Coordinator

Site Location:
910 N. Prospect
Kansas City, MO
NRC#: 825828

The following paragraphs are in chronological order.

Fire at a chemical distribution facility. Roads and schools in the area have been closed. EPA OSCs on scene conducting air monitoring with local responders. Preliminary air data is well below National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

EPA deployed its Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) aircraft to fly over the smoke plume and collect additional air quality data. ASPECT monitoring detected trace levels of trimethlybenzene, ammonia and methanol. The results for these chemicals are well below health-based benchmarks. The actual report is available under ASPECT Overflight Air Data.

EPA continues to collect air monitoring data in strategic locations throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. These locations are identified on the sample map #1 below. The parameters EPA has been monitoring in the air include: particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides. At this time, EPA’s data indicates that the initial results are well below health-based benchmarks, with the exception of the facility fire location.

Air measurements taken outdoor are below established standards. Therefore, we do not expect any adverse indoor air quality issues. Specific indoor air quality questions should be directed to the Kansas City Missouri Health Department at 816-513-6186.

During the evening of February 7th, 2007, EPA collected ash fallout samples from four locations in the neighborhood located west of the site: the intersections of 8th and Charlotte; Troost and Admiral; Missouri and Harris; and 5th and Forest. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals by EPA’s regional laboratory using standard analytical methods. See Sample Map 2 for the locations of these samples.

Two flights of the ASPECT aircraft were conducted on the morning of February 8, 2007 to evaluate any changes in air emissions from the Chem Central fire since the previous ASPECT flight on the afternoon of February 7. Data was collected on airborne chemicals and also on the temperature of materials at the fire site.

Airborne chemical results from the February 8 ASPECT flights show no detectable quantities of any chemicals. This indicates that the Chem Central fire is not having a significant effect on air quality in the area.

Volatile organic compounds include chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and acetone. Semi-volatile organic compounds include chemicals such as naphthalene, anthracene, and pyrene, which are common components of soot. Heavy metals include lead, cadmium, and mercury.

The results of the analyses of these ash samples indicate that very low levels of metals, volatile organic compounds, and semi-volatile organic compounds are present, and none of these chemicals exceeded health-based screening levels.

Even though these chemicals do not exceed their health-based screening levels, EPA recommends common-sense hygiene practices, such as avoiding contact and washing hands after contact.

EPA collected air monitoring data at six schools located in the vicinity of the Chemcentral incident. These schools are identified on Sample Map #2. The parameters monitored include: particulates and volatile organic compounds. At this time, EPA’s data indicates that the results are well below health-based benchmarks. In addition, EPA collected wipe samples from various locations at these schools and submitted them for laboratory analyses. The results are pending and will be posted as soon as possible.

2/12/07 3:00 p.m. Air Monitoring Results from ChemCentral fire:

Five air monitoring stations were set up to sample for various contaminants the evening of the fire (see map #2). These samples were analyzed by two laboratories. The results show that metals, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and particulates were below detection levels. Additionally, six grade schools located near the fire were chosen to determine if there was a negative impact (see map #2). All of the analysis from the schools has not been received or verified, except for the asbestos results. All asbestos samples from the schools were below detection levels. Additional results are continuing to be received and this information will be available at a later time. This event has transitioned over from an emergency response phase into a removal/cleanup phase. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is the lead oversight agency.