manager Ken Kelleher told the Claymont Community Coalition at
its Mar. 20 meeting that his company "will experience a business
disruption" if General Chemical shuts down at the end of
September as it has previously announced. That, he said, will
cut off its source of fluorosuphonic acid, a sulfur-based
chemical which is a key raw material for making a chemical that
Honeywell sells to oil refineries.
Honeywell has decided to build a unit to make the acid but that
will not go on stream until April, 2004. Meanwhile, he said,
"we're trying to bridge the gap." No other company in the United
States makes the refinery chemical, but Honeywell's customers
are likely to turn to European suppliers. The chemical accounts
for about half of the local plant's production.
is a corporate brother of General Chemical. It is the former
specialty chemical division of Allied Chemical, the company
which spun off General Chemical in 1987. The plant, which
straddles the Delaware-Pennsylvania border, employs 83 workers.
Kelleher did not say how many would be affected.
Zoladkiewicz, manager of the Sunoco refinery, which sells acid
gas to General Chemical and is faced with the problem of what to
do with that material, other than burn it off through its safety
flare, between the time General Chemical shuts down and a new
sulfur-recovery unit is ready, said Sunoco is talking with
General Chemical as part of an "intensive effort" to come up
with an interim solution.
no details about what is being discussed, but indicated that a
long-term contractual commitment may be brought in to play. "Two
years of flaring is not an option," he said.
Chemical's plant manager Tom Testa, said that a company analysis
concluded it is "not financially justified for us to rebuild the
facility." Last summer, he and other General Chemical officials
said that a major overhaul, involving substantial new investment
in the Claymont plant was under consideration but dependent upon
being about to obtain financing. Since then, both General
Chemical and its parent, Gentek, have declared bankruptcy with
an intent to reorganize.
that the company will continue to operate the portion of its
plant which is in Pennsylvania, but that it will stop making
sulfuric acid on the Delaware side of the plant. About 250
workers will lose their jobs.
no environmental problems associated with the closure, he said.
unrelated matter affecting the Claymont industrial complex, it
was confirmed at the coalition meeting that two men were
detained by Marcus Hook, Pa., police the night of Mar. 18 after
an officer observed them driving slowly and allegedly acting
suspiciously in the vicinity of the Sunoco refinery. Police
reportedly found a chemistry book in the car.
the men, a foreign national, was turned over to the custody of
the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service. The other, a U.S.
citizen of Middle Eastern extraction, has been released.
State Police have begun a 'homeland security initiative',
Patrick Ogden, criminal lieutenant at the Penny Hill troop, told
the coalition. Officers, he said, have been especially detailed
"to keep an eye on high-risk places."
matter of conventional law enforcement, he reported that 28
arrests were made during the first two weeks of the 'Claymont
initiative'. Five of those resulted in felony charges and 11
were drug-related. Twenty-one adults and one juvenile for whom
there were outstanding warrants were picked up. There were 34
arrests for traffic violations.
reported by Delaforum, that initiative involves assigning
additional patrols to the Claymont area. Ogden said it is being