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First phase of cleanup nearly finished almost one year after TPC explosion, company said

TPC Group said they expect this first phase to be completed by early 2021.

PORT NECHES, Texas — The recovery process from the TPC explosion is still ongoing, even nearly one year after it happened. 

The de-inventory process is now complete, TPC Group said in a statement Monday, Nov. 23. 

Crews were able to mitigate remnants left at the site that could pose a risk to the community without further incident, the company said.

"The first phase of the demolition is well underway to safely remove debris, clear streets and remove damaged equipment," TPC Group said in the statement. 

TPC Group said they expect this first phase to be completed by early 2021. The company also said they are continuing to work with regulatory agencies and insurance providers and attorneys. 

"We continue to do our part to protect the safety of our employees and our community through our environmental, health and safety, and security performance," TPC Group said. 

Air monitoring at the site of the explosion is still ongoing, the company said. Five stationary monitors are along the fence line along with eight mobile monitors inside the fence. 

RELATED: TCEQ unveils new mobile technology to help with air monitoring during emergencies

RELATED: What caused the 2019 TPC explosion? New report from Chemical Safety Board details 6,000 gallon butadiene leak

The site is working toward a three-phase recovery process, TPC Group said. Right now, the company said it is moving raffinate to a customer in Southeast Texas. 

The next phase of the recovery process is scheduled to start at the end of 2020, with moving chemical product beginning again in January 2021. 

More than 5,000 claims from residents with homes damaged are already settled through TPC Group's voluntary claim program, TPC Group said. The company said they have also reimbursed almost 19,000 residents for evacuation expenses in the aftermath of the explosions. 

"While we had hoped to complete initial residential claims settlement appointments and make initial settlement payments for valid claims within one year of the event, the settlement process has taken longer than anticipated,:" TPC Group said. "Unexpected impacts to the process timeline from COVID-19, an active hurricane season and delays in receiving required residential claims documentation will cause resolution of residential claims to carry over into 2021."

TPC Group said they hope to resolve all resident's claims by March 31, 2021.

The Chemical Safety Board released a 13-page report detailing the timeline and what led up to the TPC explosion.

Federal officials said about 6,000 gallons of liquid vapor, mostly butadiene escape one of the processing towers at the TPC plant in Port Neches. Two minutes later, the plant was on fire. 

While the investigation into the explosion is not over, the report summarizes what happened before and after the explosion.

Full statement from TPC spokesperson Sara Cronin: 

"The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Factual Update includes an event timeline. It does not include a causal analysis and does not identify probable or contributing causes to the incident because the CSB has not completed its investigation. The Factual Update does not include “findings” of noncompliance or fault.

TPC is committed to continuously improving its operations, and to understanding CSB’s perspective. While the CSB has been conducting its investigation, TPC already has begun implementing a comprehensive program to review its systems for identifying and mitigating butadiene hazards. TPC has an Operational Excellence program in place with dedicated resources to address risk mitigation at our sites.

The CSB investigation is ongoing, and the final results of the investigation are pending. Once the CSB finalizes its investigation and issues a final report, TPC will take actions to address any CSB concerns as appropriate."

RELATED: First pre-trial hearing held Monday for 530 TPC explosion-related lawsuits

READ MORE | Information about TPC Group's Voluntary Claims Program

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