The MeadWestvaco plant in North Charleston experienced a scare Monday morning involving a 250,000 gallon tank of “tall oil.” “Tall oil” is a byproduct of wood pulp that can be poisonous if inhaled. It is also known as “liquid rosin.”
MeadWestvaco spokeswoman Stephanie Mangini says the tank somehow ruptured, but investigators have not determined a cause. That rupturing caused a loud noise that was first reported to North Charleston first responders as an explosion. The city’s fire department responded, but said it did not encounter any flames.
“No product was released,” said MeadWestvaco spokeswoman Stephanie Mangini, “The cause of the incident is still under investigation. There is no risk to the outside community.”
Mangini said no one was seriously hurt.
MeadWestvaco is a Virginia-based chemical company. Its North Charleston facility refines ”tall oil” into fatty acids and rosins that are used in paint and water-resistant coating for paper. Mangini says the plant is returning to business as usual.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control monitored the air around the plant, but did not report any problems.
Sheree Bernardi of Charleston affiliate WTMA contributed to this report