Carus LLC FAQs

FAQs

Carus LLC FAQs

FAQs: Carus Fire at the LaSalle Plant on January 11, 2023

At Carus our priority is to protect the health and safety of our neighbors, employees, the community, and emergency personnel. We understand there are questions and concerns from those impacted by the fire on January 11, 2023. The FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and answers below have been compiled to address these. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Carus Hotline at 815-224-6662.

UPDATE: (June 26, 2023 12:00 pm)

Insurance

Davies Group is a third-party agency that specializes in delivering claims administration support, amongst other specialties in risk and insurance. Our insurance carriers have selected Davies Group to administer the claim process. Those who submitted claims through this process received confirmation along with contact information. Insurance adjusters are currently working with community members to resolve those claims.

Our insurance carriers are AIG and Allied World. The Davies Group was selected by the carriers so you would have a dedicated contact person to call about your claim. Davies Group is responsible for the administration of your claim between the two carriers. If you call our insurance carriers, they will be unable to help you directly.

You can continue contacting the Davies Group for updates on your claims.

You can also file a claim with your personal insurance provider if you prefer.

Filing a claim with any insurance carrier must follow a process. Once a claim has been filed, the Davies Group will send an
adjuster to work individually with homeowners to ensure claims are being handled correctly.

For the community members who have submitted an insurance claim through Carus, an adjuster will be assigned to your
claim and will assess the damage. Once the adjuster completes the assessment, your individual report will be sent to a
Davies Group claims representative. The claims representative will then review the claim with the two insurance carriers
and communicate with you regarding the next steps. Carus is working with insurance carriers to help get claims paid as
quickly as we can by the insurance company.

Yes, you must sign the release form to get paid and ensure that we have addressed all of your concerns. If you are uncomfortable with the release process, you may always pursue a claim with your own insurance carrier.

The timeline for the entire process depends on the nature and complexity of the claim. Adjusters will be working with you directly to ensure the timeliest completion of claims. Carus is working with insurance carriers to help get claims paid as quickly as we can by the insurance company.

If you have submitted a claim and have not heard from the Davies Group, or need help, please call the Carus Hotline at 815-224-6662.

If you have agreed to the settlement offer, signed the release, and sent it back, and still haven’t received payment, then please call the Carus Hotline at 815-224-6662.

We encourage anyone with questions about the insurance claim process to call the Carus Hotline at 815-224-6662.

Every individual who files a claim receives an email that includes a personalized claim number and the adjuster’s name. You can request that the adjuster verify their name and your claim number prior to inspecting your home.

Davies Group has informed Carus this is a recordkeeping mechanism to keep track of the claimant and the company for their internal recordkeeping.

Yes, homeowners with damage from the January 11 fire who have filed their claim with their own personal insurance carrier on or before June 14, and show they paid their deductible, will be reimbursed up to $2,500.

To receive reimbursement, please provide a copy of the paperwork from your insurance company that shows the name of the insurance carrier and the amount of the deductible that was reduced from the payment you received. You can then either mail that copy to us, along with your full name and address, to 315 5th St., Peru, IL 61354 or email it to [email protected].

Emergency Planning & Operations

No, a nail from the pallet did not cause a spark to ignite the fire. The combination of events that led to the fire were:

  • Potassium Permanganate, contained in “Supersac” packaging (a common form of packaging), was being transported from the warehouse to a waiting truck and damaged in transit by a forklift truck.
  • Following normal protocols, the warehouse team cleaned up the spilled material and moved the damaged Supersac to a separate location.
  • As the damaged Supersac was being moved, friction caused by the forklift truck moving the support pallet likely ignited the material underneath the pallet.

The fire was NOT caused by an explosion. The combination of events that led to the fire were:

  • Potassium Permanganate, contained in “Supersac” packaging (a common form of packaging), was being transported from the warehouse to a waiting truck and damaged in transit by a forklift truck.
  • Following normal protocols, the warehouse team cleaned up the spilled material and moved the damaged Supersac to a separate location.
  • As the damaged Supersac was being moved, friction caused by the forklift truck moving the support pallet likely ignited the material underneath the pallet.

It was not due to a tanker of chlorine.

Carus does not have or store chlorine at the LaSalle plant. We do not use chlorine at the LaSalle plant.

The combination of events that led to the fire were: 

  • Potassium Permanganate, which was contained in “Supersac” packaging (a common form of packaging), was being transported from the warehouse to a waiting truck and was damaged in transit by a forklift truck.
  • Following normal protocols, the warehouse team cleaned up the spilled material and moved the damaged Supersac to a separate location.
  • As the damaged Supersac was being moved, friction caused by the forklift truck moving the support pallet likely ignited the material underneath the pallet.

Though there was much speculation about the cause of the fire by both Carus employees and the community, we did not know the cause of it until the end of March. Carus engaged a third-party expert to investigate the cause of the fire on the day it occurred and identify all contributing factors. Carus is fully committed to being transparent about the cause of the fire. These investigations take time, and the findings of the third-party investigation were shared on March 30th.

After the fire, Carus employees were seen and photographed cleaning up non-hazardous waste and debris. The clean-up efforts were often messy, and these employees wore Tyvek suits to keep themselves clean. Manganese dioxide is hard to remove from fabrics, therefore, employees wore this protective wear to avoid ruining their clothing.

These employees were using the same cleaning solution (1/3 peroxide, 1/3 white vinegar, 1/3 water) recommended to the public for cleaning up on the day of the fire. A light purple residue was noticed on the debris. The purple coloring of potassium permanganate can be observed at 1 part per million, which is a very low concentration. In other words, our employees used best practices for cleanup and followed safety protocols that are a part of normal operating procedures.

The employees were using the above cleaning solution, which was recommended to the citizens of LaSalle following the fire. Any resulting runoff entering the sewer is not hazardous and poses no threat to the public or the environment.

The Carus EHS Department has multiple Emergency Response and Spill Control Procedures that address each specific
chemical we have on site. Furthermore, all personnel are trained in Hazard Communications and Spill Response. If there
is a spill, we immediately stop all work and create a safety standdown. The cause of the issue is discussed to ensure it is
handled appropriately and according to all procedures.

On the day of the fire, we used the Standard Operating Procedure in place to fix a leaking Supersac, a procedure that is
perfectly allowable under the law and has been used for years. It was the combination of events and conditions mentioned above that led to the fire.

Training requirements and other qualifications for drivers include DOT Hazmat Training Program, Hazmat Transportation
Driver Training, Tanker Driving Technique Training, Tanker Vehicle Inspection Training, Alliance Road Test with Lead Driver,
and Alliance Facility Offloading Test with Lead Driver. We also conduct pre-employment background checks and
pre-employment evaluation of five years of inspection and driver record data.

Carus does not manufacture any water-reactive chemicals.

Carus has comprehensive, site-specific emergency response plans for all facilities. These plans are federally mandated to be
updated regularly and available for regulatory inspection upon request. These are not generic plans.

For safety and security reasons, specifics of the emergency response plan cannot be publicly shared, but first responders,
elected officials, and regulatory agencies all have access to these plans. 

Each of our facilities has an emergency response plan that is specific to each site’s needs. The LaSalle plant’s emergency
response plan includes specific procedures for fires, operational issues, weather-related issues, security issues, medical
emergencies, and other emergency procedures.

We have previously tested all applicable materials for explosive dust material, which have all been found to contain insufficient concentrations that would cause a fire or deflagration hazard. Carus does not manufacture any materials that could be a combustible dust hazard.

The validity of Carus’ permits has recently been questioned by members of the community who have claimed some of our
permits have expired. This is not true. All Carus permits are compliant and current according to the provisions set forth by
the responsible regulatory authorities.

One specific permit, Publicly Owned Treatment Works appears to have expired on June 30, 2016. We filed a permit renewal
application with the City of LaSalle on April 29, 2016—two months before it was to expire. However, the provisions of the
permit have not been updated since then, which means Carus is still operating under what’s called a “permit shield” from the
old permit. Carus is working closely with the City of LaSalle water department while it updates practices, and it is aware of
the Carus application renewal. This means that we have been, and continue to be, in compliance.

In the more than 100 years Carus has been in business, there has never been an event like this. Carus is committed to
mitigating the risk that there could be a repeat of this event through continued, careful adherence to established safe
handling and storage practices, as well as all local, state, and federal regulations.

Carus facilities and our customers have been safely storing potassium permanganate and sodium permanganate for decades
without an incident like this. Carus is an ISO-certified company that embraces continuous improvement and will continue to
evolve its risk mitigation plans.

LaSalle Apollo Warehouse

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) define
hazardous materials as articles or substances capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment; are
listed or classified in the regulations; and are transported in commerce.

In the Apollo Warehouse case, no chemicals, including potassium permanganate, were being stored that were classified as
DOT Hazardous. Therefore, these chemicals were not required to have a placard for transportation.

However, the Tier II law requires a facility with greater than or equal to 10,000 pounds of any hazardous chemical by OSHA
criteria (a different set of criteria than DOT) to be reported.

In early 2022, the decision was made to remove all chemicals from the Apollo Warehouse. This decision was made due to
the disruptive truck traffic surrounding the warehouse. The decision was not made due to any safety concerns about
materials being stored at Apollo.

Following the January 11 fire, Carus mistakenly communicated on January 23 that all chemicals being stored in the Apollo
Warehouse had been removed. This statement was a simple misunderstanding caused by human error. Upon realizing our
error, we corrected this statement the next day, January 24.

There are no longer any chemicals being stored in the Apollo Warehouse and it has been retired.

 

No. Potassium Permanganate was not stored at the Apollo Warehouse before or after the fire.

In early 2022, the decision was made to remove all chemicals from the Apollo warehouse. By Feb 15th 2023, the majority of
chemicals had been removed. On February 15, 2023, the City of LaSalle then asked Carus to remove all remaining chemicals
from Apollo. Carus finalized these efforts and removed all remaining chemicals—six truckloads—by March 3, 2023.

Some examples of Tier II chemical sites include grain companies, gas stations, equipment rental facilities, hospitals, and big box stores.

Bleach, dye, gasoline, pool chemicals, nail polish remover, cleaning chemicals, laundry detergent, pesticides, fertilizers, and nicotine.

Environmental & Testing

During the fire at the LaSalle plant on January 11, 2023, potassium permanganate was consumed and the fire was extremely
hot. This produced strong updrafts, which lifted a small amount of material into the sky. As the wind carried the material
away from the fire, the air cooled and a very small amount of unreacted potassium permanganate fell onto some homes and
the surrounding area.

Manganese metal is dangerous. However, Manganese metal is NOT found in any product that Carus produces, including
potassium permanganate. The rain and snow on the day of the fire reacted with the potassium permanganate, converting it
to manganese dioxide. Manganese dioxide is found in all soil and sediment and is essential for healthy grass and trees. The
EPA and IEPA indicated no health risks to the LaSalle community.

No. First, the fire burned with incredible heat and intensity. Permanganate would have reacted with any organic
chemicals producing carbon dioxide and water, which are routinely produced and exhausted in gas furnaces found in
residential homes. Potassium permanganate itself is pure—routinely above 99% purity. This high purity is achieved and
required for potassium permanganate to be used in any water treatment or soil remediation projects

Yes, permanganate oxidizes and removes iron, manganese, and organics, which cause bad tastes and odors, from drinking
water. The permanganate (purple/pink color) will react with these contaminants and form manganese dioxide (harmless,
brown solid) depending on what is in the water source. These solids are then filtered from the finished water before you
drink it.

In water, permanganate reacts with contaminants it encounters. If the water is pure, the permanganate will
not react and the color of the solution will stay pink/purple. When permanganate reacts, the pink/purple color disappears and a brown solid (manganese dioxide) is precipitated from the chemical reaction.

In the case of rain and snow, permanganate reacts with any naturally occurring contaminants (soil, soot, dirt, etc.) in this precipitation, which settles on surfaces, which creates the brown staining—which was visible on various materials, including railings, concrete,
and outdoor furniture.

Yes. Testing by the EPA and Illinois Department of Natural Resources indicate no concerns for pets or wildlife. Please visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for more information by clicking here.

Wipe samples are a qualitative sampling protocol to determine what is on a surface and give a general idea of concentrations. Illinois EPA (IEPA) determined that the samples taken after the fire could be used to draw conclusions from the data and that there were no fire-related health hazards.

The IEPA website states that its mission is “to safeguard environmental quality, consistent with the social and economic needs of the State of Illinois, so as to protect the health, welfare, property, and quality of life.” Additionally, the Illinois Department of Public Health analyzed the collected data and issued a report stating there were no hazards to health from the fire.

At every step of the way, Carus has deferred to the experts to ensure the community’s health and safety come first.

Potassium permanganate is an oxidizer and will react with certain materials when it encounters them. Almost all reactions with permanganate will leave behind a harmless brown-to-black stain (manganese dioxide). 

  • Wood: Permanganate has been used to stain lighter woods to look darker by applying a weak solution to the wood. This color will fade over time.   
  • Concrete: Permanganate does not react with concrete but will stain it. During ordinary handling and storage, permanganate is stored on wooden pallets on concrete floors both at our plant and customer sites. 
  • Aluminum: Permanganate will cause pitting. 
  • Asphalt:  Permanganate does not react with this material. 
  • Plastic:  Many types of plastic do not react with permanganate. This includes:
    • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is used for plumbing and siding. 
    • HDPE (high-density polyethylene) used for tanks, pots, and furniture. 
    • XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) used for tanks, pots, and furniture. 
    • Polypropylene is used for tubing, siding, and furniture. 
    • Polycarbonate is used for furniture. 
    • Nylon is a type of plastic that reacts with permanganate and is used for some furniture. 
  • Natural rubber, Buna N, and Buna S all react with permanganate and are used for water hoses. 
  • Ceramic: Permanganate will not react with ceramic materials. 

These are the most common materials that are found in the community. We can provide more material compatibility information based on our sheets if necessary.  

 

Permanganate is a visibly pink/purple color at 1 part per million or less (very low concentration). If the water is still pink/
purple, the permanganate needs to be neutralized with a solution of sodium bisulfite or a mixture of vinegar and peroxide.

If a pool has been affected by permanganate, the permanganate will have reacted and will show manganese dioxide staining,
which is brown to black in color. This manganese dioxide staining is the same staining that occurs from manganese in
drinking water when it stains plumbing and fixtures in homes when groundwater is under-treated.

Any pool cleaning solution that is used to clean iron and manganese staining can remove the staining from permanganate
(Rover Rust Remover, Iron Out, Clorox Pool & Spa Scale, Metal, and Stain Cleaner, etc.).

The material in the Carus landfill is not, and has never been, hazardous.

There is no manganese metal in powder form in the landfill. The waste that is deposited there does not get airborne. There is a high enough moisture content to prevent that from happening. The waste does not exhibit any hazardous characteristics.

Carus does not manufacture manganese metal, so there is no way it could mix with water and produce a fire.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the gold standard for all things environmental related and that is the agency
which regulates Carus and grants permits to operate. The US EPA have experts whose sole job is to collect and analyze
environmental data for the protection of human health and the environment. They have concluded that there are no health
risks to the community due to the fire. Therefore, it does not make sense for Carus to conduct further testing.

Any environmental emissions (air, water, and land) are regulated by both state and federal authorities. Carus, as a chemical
manufacturer, is strictly regulated and must file reports to the authorities yearly. In fact, every manufacturer above a certain
size must file emission profiles with both the U.S. EPA and the Illinois EPA.

Substantial heat and electricity are needed in the manufacturing process for potassium permanganate, sodium
permanganate, and Carus catalysts. Carus operates boilers to heat oil, which in turn heats the reaction vessels. The boilers
are fired with natural gas and emits carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), NOx, and particulates.

A complete detail of Carus’ emissions can be found in the Air Emissions Report and Toxic Chemicals Release Report filed
yearly with the EPA.

Carus is required to file an Air Emissions Report (AER) every July. This report details the previous year’s plant emissions and
is required by law.

Carus is required to report carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, lead, methane, total manganese (including
manganese dioxide), nitrous oxide, ammonia, NOx, and particulate matter. Carus has made investments in pollution control
equipment resulting in substantial emission reductions. In fact, Carus air emissions are 50% below the allowable limit. The
Air Emissions Report (AER) and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) are publicly available.

Particulate matter is the term for solids or liquid particles found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke,
are large enough to easily be seen. Other particles, such as pollen, are so small that they are invisible to the eye. Some
particulate matter is emitted due to daily activities such as construction, unpaved roads, roads that have surface debris,
farmers plowing fields, smokestacks, and fires. Other particulate matter is formed in the atmosphere due to reactions from
power plant emissions and automobiles.

Particulate matter is everywhere.

In spring, pollen, farmers plowing their fields, and municipalities cleaning winter debris off streets produce particulate
matter. The harvest, leaves falling, and fire pits in the fall also contribute to particulate matter

Carus releases non-contact cooling water into the Vermillion River. Non-contact cooling water is water that does not “contact” our chemical processes and is used to maintain the temperature in the production equipment.

Scroll to Top