PONCA CITY, Okla. (Jan. 2, 2008) — Operations returned to normal over the weekend of Dec. 22-23 at Continental Carbon Co.´s Ponca City carbon black plant following a heat exchanger unit failure on Dec. 19.
The company replaced one oil preheater and a 9-inch section of the bundle pipe in a second oil preheater. The oil preheaters bring feedstock oil to proper temperature at the beginning of the production process.
All aspects of the operations team´s response to the incident went according to plan, said Plant Manager Jim McGuffin. Concarb promptly informed local public safety officials and notified the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality ahead of deadlines, he said.
DEQ officials responded promptly and the measures the firm had taken to repair the malfunctioning heat exchanger have been reviewed and approved, he said.
The manufacturing process used by Continental Carbon moves all carbon black and production by-products in a closed system through an extensive filter system, designed to keep carbon black out of the air. As a result, most of the emissions from failure of the heat exchanger were steam, used to cool production equipment and protect the overall facility from further damage, the company said.