Coast Guard Teams With Others to Contain Chemical Leak

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The South Carolina State Ports Authority’s North Charleston Terminal, at the end of Remount Road, remains closed to all traffic as experts and responders prepare to safely stabilize a chemical shipment that is leaking Wednesday.

The coordinated response to contain the difluoroethylene includes the North Charleston Fire Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, a private environmental contractor, and other agencies and companies.

Emergency responders remain on scene and precautions remain in place to protect the responder’s and the community’s health, and the environment.

Difluoroethylene is a refrigerant in its current form and was set for export to Europe. The chemical is also used in the production of insulated wiring for commercial and military aviation applications. It was being shipped in six cylinders attached to a 40-foot-long frame.

The cylinder manufacturer has arrived on scene, and a specialized environmental response team is due to arrive soon. Technicians and specialists from the product manufacturer are also en route to assist.

Exercising caution, officials decided early this morning to close the facility and clear the area.

Although the material is flammable, there are no injuries or environmental pollution. Officials from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are on site.

Port police and local law enforcement are assisting with traffic redirection at the intersection of Virginia and Remount. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

The focus remains on safely and responsibly stabilizing the cylinders, allowing the terminal to return to normal operations. Approximately 1,000 trucks move through the terminal on an average day.

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