HOUSTON (KTRK) --Workers from the LyondellBasell plant tell abc13 Eyewitness News the plant was evacuated this afternoon due to a chemical release.
The Houston refinery located on the 12000 block of Lawndale was evacuated at about 2pm, according to employees who were taking shelter at a nearby park.
The company says a localized power failure resulted in the shutdown of the sulfur recovery unit. During the shutdown, there was a brief release of sulfur dioxide. However, the company says that out of an abundance of caution, employees were asked to remain in place, but no evacuation of the plant was called.
Air monitoring shows the levels of material detected are within safety standards, according to the company. Power has been restored and efforts are being made to restore the affected unit. The other parts of the refinery continue to operate.
LyondellBasell's Houston refinery is one of the largest refineries in the nation that processes heavy-sulfur crude oil, according to the company's website. Products it makes include jet fuel and lubricants.
The facility covers approximately 700 acres along the Houston Ship Channel and more than 1,300 employees and contractors on site.
The plant has cited by the EPA for 'noncompliance' 12 times over the past three years in connection with its disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste.
The company has earned 13 national safety awards in the last five years.