ARCO Chemical Co. officials are 95% sure excessive oxygen in the vapor space of a waste water storage tank led to an explosion and fire last year at ARCO's Channelview, Tex., petrochemical plant. Explosive conditions developed when a key oxygen analyzer failed in a way that led plant operators to believe they were operating safely, ARCO said. The blast, just before midnight July 5, 1990, killed 17 workers and flattened an area the size of a city block, shutting down 15% of U.S. styrene monomer capacity (OGJ, July 16, 1990, p. 28). ARCO earlier this month agreed to pay $3,481,300 in penalties proposed by the U.S. Occu...

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