Officials are reporting an explosion at a hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility, Tradebe Environmental Services, in Bridgeport injured at least three people this afternoon.
Tradebe spokesperson Rich Bamberger said, "there was an incident at the Bridgeport facility Friday afternoon. We are cooperating and working closely with first responders and regulators. Our prayers are with the three people who were injured, and they are currently being evaluated at a local hospital."
Residents within a two block radius of the explosion and smoke plume were evacuated.
It is believed the explosion is tied to a water-based chemical, according to News 12 Connecticut.
The City of Bridgeport has advised of a number of road closures in the area.
Tradebe Environmental Services was founded with the vision of helping industrial and chemical companies manage waste in order to protect people and the environment.
However, in 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a proposed settlement with Tradebe that resolved alleged violations Tradebe had committed against the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA) at the company’s hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities in Bridgeport, and also in Meriden, Connecticut.
According to the EPA, the alleged RCRA violations include failures to comply with certain standards and requirements for hazardous waste tanks, equipment leak inspections, and record-keeping. Additional RCRA violations involved site security, storage of hazardous waste at unauthorized locations, tank overflow equipment maintenance, hazardous waste release reporting, and others.
The alleged CAA violations involved National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), with respect to hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities that handle off-site wastes and that are major hazardous air pollutant sources.
The settlement required Tradebe to install equipment "to control the emissions of hazardous waste air pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOC), which can pose a range of short- and long-term adverse health effects."
Tradebe was also required to purchase new emissions leak detection equipment.
The total estimated value of the injunctive relief and remedial actions required under the proposed settlement was estimated to be at least $920,000.
Additionally, Tradebe was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $525,000.
The EPA cautioned in 2018 that, "air emissions from hazardous waste storage tanks, pipes, valves and other equipment are known or are suspected to cause cancer, birth defects and seriously impact the environment."
The risks stemming from today's explosion are unclear at this time.