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.
All of it was avoidable, as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality explained, if Dow had kept the pilot light on its flare lit.
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The commission fined Dow $6,725 for not leaving the light on.
-- Steve Olafson