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Acid Plant Database  June 25, 2014

Owner Lucite International, Inc.

Lucite-Logo.gif (5611 bytes)

Operator E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company

901 West DuPont Avenue
Belle, West Virginia
USA  25015


1999 - ICI Acrylics stock sold and name changed to Ineos Acrylics, Inc.
2002 - Name changed to Lucite International, Inc.



Plant -
Coordinates* 38° 14' 19" N, 81° 32' 59" W
Type of Plant Acid Regeneration
Gas Source -
Plant Capacity -

SO2: < 2000 ppm
         < 40 lb/ton
Acid Mist: < 70 mg/m3 (dry)
Opacity: < 20%


Shutdown March 2010

Year Built -
Technology -
Contractors -
Remarks -

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection www.wvdep.org
Facility ID: 03900001
Title V Permit to Operate

Permit No. Issue Date Expiry Date Details
R30-03900001-2002 May 4, 2004 May 4, 2009 -
- - - -
Pictures Lucite - Belle 1.jpg (236329 bytes)  Lucite - Belle 2.jpg (149890 bytes)
General -
Reference -
News June 24, 2014 - A chemical leak was reported Tuesday night at the DuPont plant in Belle, but it was contained to the plant and posed no danger to the public, according to Metro 911 dispatchers.  About three pounds of sulfur trioxide was released from the plant. The leak was reported about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.  While the Belle Fire Department was on standby, firefighters were released when the leak posed no danger outside the plant.  No injuries were reported. 



State and federal authorities announced Monday that DuPont and Lucite International have agreed to pay $2 million to settle air pollution violations at a West Virginia plant.  The violations stem from sulfur dioxide releases from a sulfuric acid unit owned by Lucite but operated by DuPont at its Belle plant in Kanawha County. The announcement said Lucite voluntarily agreed to close the unit by next April.  DuPont spokesman Dan Turner said the company disagreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation of standards applied to the unit, but the company decided to work with regulators to resolve the dispute.  DuPont doesn't anticipate any layoffs when the unit is closed, Turner said.  The emissions come from the burning of sulfuric acid sludge. Part of the emissions are recovered, but some is released into the atmosphere. In addition the sulfur dioxide emissions, the unit releases sulfuric acid mist, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release.  Sulfuric acid is used to process ore, produce fertilizer, refine oil, process wastewater and chemical synthesis.  "Sulfur dioxide emissions can be harmful to children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung conditions," said Catherine McCabe, with EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  Closing the unit will reduce air emissions from the plant by more than 1,000 tons a year, she said.  EPA, the Justice Department and the state Department of Environmental Protection said the violations stem from modifications the companies made to the unit in 1996 without obtaining pre-construction permits or installing air pollution controls. The Clean Air Act requires permits for modifications that could result in significant increases in air pollution.  Turner said the unit started operating before new emission standards and review programs were implemented. The unit was routinely inspected and maintained and did not increase the amount of emissions from the plant, he said.  The agreement was to be filed with the U.S. District Court in Charleston. Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the agreement before it's finalized.  The agreement requires the companies to pay $1 million to the EPA and $1 million to the state Department of Environmental Protection.


October 10, 2011 - DuPont said it believes sulfur dioxide vapor caused four workers at its Belle plant to become ill two weeks ago.  "We are close to completing our internal investigation of the incident," DuPont said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also is investigating.  DuPont said that based on the findings of its investigation, "we have a clearer picture of what happened."  At about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, "three DuPont mechanics who were conducting maintenance work in the Belle plant's Dimethyl Sulfate (DMS) unit, which is currently shut down for scheduled maintenance, began to experience eye discomfort," the company said. "Late that afternoon, one of the workers noticed his throat was irritated and getting hoarse."  The plant's medical staff evaluated the three. One worker was sent to a local hospital, where he spent four days. He was released Sept. 30. The two others were released from the plant's medical facility. Later that evening, one went to a local hospital where he was evaluated and released the same evening.  An additional worker - a contract employee - went to the plant's medical facility Tuesday morning. "He was sent to the local hospital for further evaluation and spent two days in the hospital under observation as a precaution," DuPont said.  "Our investigation concluded that during the maintenance work, kettle heel, which is waste residue from the process equipment, was discharged to the drain in the area," DuPont said. "The mixing of the heel and water, which was being used to clean the area, resulted in a small vapor release that drifted toward the mechanics, who were approximately 70 feet away.  "Based on our investigation, we now believe that the vapor release was sulfur dioxide and that the quantity released was less than 2 pounds, well below the reportable quantity.  "We believe the release dissipated within the DMS area within a short period of time and did not travel beyond that area," DuPont said. "We have received no additional reports of exposure outside the DMS area.  "We are in the process of reviewing our maintenance procedures and training and will make appropriate changes to prevent similar incidents from occurring again," the company said. "We take this matter very seriously and are committed to operating our plant in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."


May 31, 2011 - Two workers at the DuPont Co. plant in Belle were transported to a hospital Tuesday after sulfuric acid sprayed from a hose during the demolition of the facility's sulfuric acid production unit, officials said.   DuPont spokesman Nate Pepper said the incident occurred at about 1:12 p.m., while contractors working for DuPont were using a hose to transfer material from a tank into a pump truck came out of the tank.  "The two contractors were showered and transported by ambulance to the hospital," Pepper said in a prepared statement. "One employee was transported for treatment and the other transported for precautionary purposes."  Tuesday's incident occurred as Kanawha Valley residents wait for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to release a report it has completed on a series of leaks at the Belle plant in January 2010, including a phosgene release that killed longtime plant employee Danny Fish.  CSB investigators have completed a draft of the report, and DuPont has been allowed to review a copy of the report. But so far, board members have not agreed on a plan for releasing the document to the public.   C.W. Sigman, deputy emergency services director for Kanawha County, said emergency officials were told a hose came loose and acid was released while contractors were working to tear down the acid-production unit.  DuPont officials called Kanawha County's Metro 911 office at 1:12 p.m., saying that two males had been exposed to some sort of toxic material. The company did not initially report the material involved, but asked for medical assistance, officials said.  Six minutes later, at 1:18 p.m., DuPont called Metro 911 again to report that the workers were being treated in decontamination showers.


March 2, 2010 - Officials from DuPont Co.'s Belle plant said Tuesday that they have lifted a "voluntary safety stand-down" instituted in January after a series of accidents, including a phosgene leak that killed a longtime DuPont worker.  In a prepared statement, DuPont spokesman Roger Hess said the company has restarted most of the units that were not involved in any of those incidents.  "We are monitoring each unit closely to ensure continued safe operation," Hess said in the statement. "We will continue with the staged resumption of operations as we determine that we can do so safely."  Various federal agencies, including the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, have launched investigations at the Belle plant following a series of accidents that also included a leak of toxic and flammable methyl chloride that went undetected by plant officials for nearly a week.  In the worst of the incidents, on Jan. 23, 32-year-plant veteran Carl "Danny" Fish was sprayed with phosgene, a chemical building block that was used as a poison gas during World War I. Fish died the following day.  DuPont did not provide a full list of units that are still not in operation, but did identify one unit that will not restart.

The Belle plant's sulfuric acid recovery unit -- where a sulfuric acid leak occurred the same day as the phosgene leak -- was already scheduled to shut down by March 31 under the terms of a federal environmental enforcement settlement.  DuPont and a partner in the unit, Lucite, agreed to pay a $2 million fine for not upgrading pollution control equipment when they expanded the unit's production capacity.  "In light of the current voluntary pause in production and the brief timeline to March 31, the SAR unit will not be restarted," DuPont said. "We do not anticipate any job losses as a result of these actions. We expect to place employees assigned to the SAR unit into existing openings at the Belle plant."


May 29, 2009 - On November 11, 2008, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. announced its intention to purchase Lucite International Group Limited of the United Kingdom, and to convert the company into a consolidated subsidiary of Mitsubishi Rayon. We herewith announce that all procedures required for the said purchase and the inclusion of Lucite International in the Company’s scope of consolidation were completed on May 28, 2009.  The acquisition of Lucite International will make Mitsubishi Rayon into the leading company in the world MMA monomer market, and it constitutes the first step in expanding the Company’s core business, which is a priority issue under our current medium-term plan for three years to March 2011.  Mitsubishi Rayon will become the sole possessor of the world’s current three main technologies for MMA production, and the Company will be the largest maker of MMA monomer with a balanced production structure encompassing the United States, Europe, and East Asia. Thanks to this production system and its superior technology, including the new ethylene process (Alpha technology) of MMA production, the Company will be well-placed to satisfy all its customers’ needs, thereby achieving growth.  The assets and liabilities held by Lucite International will be included on the balance sheet of Mitsubishi Rayon for the settlement of accounts, on a consolidated basis, as of June 30, 2009, the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009 (the business year ending March 31, 2010). However, profits and losses recorded by Lucite for the first quarter will be excluded from the income statements of Mitsubishi Rayon on a consolidated basis.

April 20, 2009 - DuPont and Lucite International Inc. have agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to settle Clean Air Act violations at a sulfuric acid plant in Belle, West Virgina, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department, and the state of West Virginia announced today.  The sulfuric acid plant is located on a 100-acre chemical manufacturing complex along the Kanawha River. The plant is owned by Lucite and operated by DuPont.  The companies will pay $1 million to the United States and $1 million to the state of West Virginia.  Further, the companies chose on their own to shut down the sulfuric-acid manufacturing unit of a larger chemical facility at the site and the settlement confirms this agreement.  Under the settlement, the sulfuric acid unit is scheduled to shut down by April 1, 2010.  “The actions taken as part of this settlement will reduce emissions of air pollutants by more than 1,000 tons each year,” said Catherine McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Sulfur dioxide emissions can be harmful to children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung conditions.”  “This settlement is part of the U.S. government’s dedicated effort to bring all sulfuric acid manufacturers into compliance with the Clean Air Act,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division.  In a joint complaint, filed concurrently with the consent decree, the United States and West Virginia allege that the companies made modifications to their plant in 1996 without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment. The Clean Air Act requires major sources of air pollution to obtain such permits before making changes that would result in a significant emissions increase of any pollutant.  The Belle sulfuric acid plant burns sulfuric acid sludge, which creates sulfur dioxide (SO2). Most of the SO2 is converted to sulfuric acid and recovered, but a portion of the chemical is emitted to the atmosphere. In addition to SO2, the plant also emits sulfuric acid mist, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.  The settlement is part of an EPA initiative to improve compliance among industries that have the potential to cause significant amounts of air pollution, including the cement manufacturing, glass manufacturing, and acid production industries.  The consent decree, lodged today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

April 13, 2009 - China’s competition authorities are holding up the takeover of UK acrylics maker Lucite by a Japanese materials group, the Financial Times reported. Mitsubishi Rayon had agreed to acquire Lucite for US$1.6 billion in November and had expected to complete the deal by January. However, sources told the paper that China’s Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) has withheld approval for the acquisition, making it the only global antitrust regulator to not approve the deal. While neither Mitsubishi Rayon nor Lucite are based in China, both companies have sales and manufacturing in in the country, thus requiring MofCom approval for any takeover.

March 30, 2009 - Lucite International, Inc., part of the Lucite International group of companies, announced that it will cease manufacturing Methacrylic Acid (MAA) at its facility in Belle, West Virginia, at the end of the first quarter of 2010.  "In these economic times the operating costs are prohibitive to the point that Lucite International can no longer justify continuing to manufacture MAA at Belle profitably," said Robert Connolly, Business Director - Monomers of Lucite International, Inc. He continued, "As the global Methacrylate leader, we will utilize our global resources to fulfill all contractual commitments."  This announcement does not affect or impact in any way Lucite International`s Higher Monomers operations at the Belle facility.

November 11, 2008 - The Board of Lucite International Group Limited ("Lucite" or the "Company"), has announced that the Company is to be acquired by Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. ("Mitsubishi Rayon") for a total cash consideration of approximately $1.6 billion. The acquisition, which is subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities, is expected to be completed by the end of January 2009.  Lucite is the world's leading manufacturer of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and owner of the globally renowned Lucite® and Perspex brands®. The Company was formed from an amalgamation of the acrylics businesses of ICI and DuPont in 1993 and has been majority owned by the private equity investor, Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP, since 1999. Lucite owns the new low cost and proprietary MMA production route, known as Alpha technology. The Company has invested in the development of this new technology, which fundamentally changes the economics of MMA manufacturing, and the first Alpha plant has begun to manufacture MMA in Singapore in the last few days and will be fully operational by the end of this year.  The acquisition will make Mitsubishi Rayon the global leader in this market and confirms its position as the leading acrylics manufacturer in the fast growing Asian markets. The acquisition will lift Mitsubishi Rayon’s annual sales to approximately ¥600 billion, putting it well on the way towards achieving its target of ¥1 trillion annual sales. In the year ended 31 December 2007, Lucite generated revenues of £849 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £114 million.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth