Ever have trouble keeping your hot water heater pilot light on? It's annoying, yes, but the worst repercussion is a surprise cold shower.
Pilot light problems occur in the petrochemical world, too, but the repercussions are decidedly more consequential.
In the case of a Dow Chemical Co. plant in Texas City, the consequences are 1,216 pounds of volatile organic compounds and 218 pounds of carbon monoxide that spewed into the atmosphere last March.
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All of it was avoidable, as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality explained, if Dow had kept the pilot light on its flare lit.
The commission fined Dow $6,725 for not leaving the light on.
-- Steve Olafson