Explosion at Salt Water Disposal Plant in Westhoff, Texas

by | May 19, 2024 | Industrial Accident

There was a fire and explosion at the Advantek salt water disposal plant in Westhoff, Texas on May 17, 2024.  According to reports, there was a fire and explosion at the facility on Friday afternoon.  One worker is confirmed to have been killed in the incident.  The victim has been identified as Larry Kevin Hendricks.  Additional details have not yet been released.  The incident remains under investigation.

Salt water disposal plants are critical in managing the byproducts of oil and gas extraction, particularly the disposal of produced water. However, these facilities can be prone to explosions due to various factors. One primary cause of explosions at salt water disposal plants is the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the produced water. These compounds, such as methane, propane, and benzene, can accumulate in storage tanks and treatment areas. If not adequately vented, these VOCs can reach explosive concentrations. A spark from electrical equipment or static discharge can ignite these vapors, leading to a devastating explosion.

Another significant factor contributing to explosions is improper handling and storage of chemicals used in the treatment process. Salt water disposal plants often use chemicals to separate oil and other hydrocarbons from the water before disposal. If these chemicals are not stored correctly, or if incompatible substances are mixed, they can react violently. Chemical reactions can generate heat and pressure, leading to ruptures in storage tanks or pipelines, which can cause explosions. Regular maintenance and strict adherence to chemical storage protocols are essential to prevent such incidents.

Equipment failure is also a common cause of explosions at salt water disposal plants. Mechanical failures, such as pump malfunctions, valve failures, or pipeline ruptures, can create conditions conducive to an explosion. For example, a failing pump might overheat, providing an ignition source for flammable vapors. Similarly, a ruptured pipeline can release pressurized gas or liquids, which can ignite if they come into contact with a spark or open flame. Ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained, regularly inspected, and quickly repaired when issues are identified is crucial in mitigating the risk of explosions at these facilities.

There have been a number of incidents at industrial and manufacturing plants.  There was an explosion at the Royal Chemical Company Plant in Macedonia, Ohio on May 15, 2024.  Three people were injured from an explosion at a Florida Power and Light power plant in Indiantown, Florida on May 16, 2024.  A worker was killed in an accident involving a trash compactor at a UPS facility in Dallas, Texas  on May 16, 2024.

Those touched by an industrial accident should know their legal rights and remedies, and act quickly to preserve them. Our attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving industrial and plant personal injury and wrongful death, including those caused by equipment malfunctioning.  The firm has experience in courts across the country and the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or as a result of an explosion, or been seriously injured.

The experienced attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a plant or refinery.  Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.