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First interim report into July chemical explosion that killed seven in Leverkusen reveals likely cause

07 September 2021

The first interim report on the investigation into the July 27 explosion at a chemical waste incineration plant in Leverkusen, Germany says that a chemical reaction was likely to have been the cause. The Cologne District Government made the announcement at a meeting of the City Council of Leverkusen on August 30, citing the first interim report on the investigation into the causes behind the incident.

Image: Currenta
Image: Currenta

"The results of this interim report match our previous findings," explains Currenta Managing Director Hans Gennen. “They are an important part of the investigation by the investigative and supervisory authorities, which we will fully support,” Gennen continued.

The authors of the report consider it likely that storage of the waste liquid above the so-called "self-explosion temperature" of the stored material led to self-heating effects. As a result, there was an exponential increase in temperature and pressure in tank 3 of the disposal centre in Bürrig. The report says “the whole process went so quickly that the safety devices were no longer able to dissipate the pressure. When the pressure was above the design pressure of the container, it exploded. "

On July 27, 2021 at 09:3, the pressure exceeded the tank's load limit. According to the appraisers, the explosion caused the waste liquid and the heating oil previously pumped into the tank to be mixed with the ambient air and ignited immediately. Following these two explosions, there was then a fire in the tank farm.

In order to provide a better overview of the incident, Currenta has published a new website which provides detailed data, facts, and images of the incident for all interested parties. The information page is divided into three areas: what happened, what Currenta is doing, and how to proceed. The information provided is continuously checked and updated by Currenta. You can view the website at:

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