On July 25, CSB deployed a three-person assessment team to the accident site. Investigators interviewed company personnel and documented the scene. The facility, which recycles and purifies zinc through a high temperature distillation process, is located approximately 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Preliminary interviews indicate there was a loss of containment from the lower section of one of the distillation columns.
“I am very concerned about the safety of this type of production process for the workers and the community,” said CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso. “There may be other facilities across the country that are using a similar metal distillation process; the CSB will be examining how to increase the safety of this type of operation.”
CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.