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Power outage shuts down Eastman

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 04 2014 05:09:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 04 2014 07:00:00 PM CDT

A plant-wide power outage has all of Eastman shut down and still trying to restart.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

Eastman Chemical Company's plant in Kingsport shut down today.

A company spokesman said a power outage led to a wastewater spill.

It hasn't happened to Eastman's Kingsport plant since 1998, but it happened Wednesday. 

A power loss within the company's own system caused it to shutdown.

"We generate our own power here on site and it happened with our power generation facilities," said Parker Smith, vice president and general manager. "We're still in the process of evaluating exactly what that was."

Without power there's no production and there's no safeguards for the company's environmental systems.

"When we lose power, we lose our electrostatic participator so there was some smoke at some point but that was very short," said Smith.

Pumps at the company's wastewater treatment facilities also shut down and caused a spill of untreated waste water.

"Today the waste water that we're talking about is actually 99 percent water," said environmental manager Richard Strang. "A small component of waste materials."

But that water ended up in the Holston River.  The company alerted all concerned about their situation.

"We dispatched our emergency responders when we first had the power outage," said Strang. "We then notified the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the local emergency planning committee and the national response center, which is the Coast Guard, and we notified all downstream users."

The company is still managing the power outage and is slowly coming back to full production. 

No injuries were reported.