Thursday, December 31, 2009

air emissions

EDMS 45084199 Dated 12/30/2009 Incident T120404 #2 SRU Malfunction on 12/23/2009
automatic safety shutdown reported as result of apparent malfunction in the SRU main burner - 2.6 hours event estimated emissions 3,090 pounds SO2

EDMS 44922598 Dated 12/16/2009 Incident T119999 #2 SRU Malfunction on December 9 2009
automatic safety shutdown reported as result of apparent malfunction in the SRU main burner flame detectors - 6.5 hours and resulted in SO2 emissions estimated at 10,800 pounds

EDMS 45084186 Dated 12/29/2009 Incident T120412 Dec 24 2009 300 barrel crude oil spill at Tank 250-1
on December 24 2009 at approximately 00:30 hours. Estimated spill 300 bbl; release to air 9.3 bbl; release to ground 50.7 bbl....conducted air monitoring....and detected no VOC and benzene levels. There was no impact to waterways.

EDMS 44926543 dated 12/21/2009 Incident T120104 Dec 14 2009 storage tank cover collapsed
31,274 pounds of VOC's and 616 pounds of benzeneOn December 14 2009 there was a release of 10,967 barrels of gasoline to the roof of Tank 200-1( state hazmat Dec 14 2009 storage tank roof collapsed. ) For approximately 2.8 hours until the tank was pumped down to its lowest level, initial estimated emissions are 31,274 pounds of VOC's and 616 pounds of benzene.

EDMS 44922633 Dated 12/18/2009 T120127 December 13 2009 diesel oil release into neighborhood canal.
No quantity of diesel released nor benzene or VOC emissions reported. On December 11 2009 Murphy was forced to open Outfall 003 due to prolonged rains. also reports on December 13 2009 Murphy Oil made a discovery of oil in a neighborhood canal. Murphy Oil discovered a release of diesel-like oily water on the 20 arpent canal, reported by Murphy Oil as ""presumably from Outfall 003"".The refinery storm water outfalls on page two of the flowchart indicates emergency outfall 003 due east of the Collin's Pipeline area. Collin's Pipeline is a joint venture of EXXON-Houston and Murphy Oil Meraux. To the west of Collin's Pipeline area is the municipal storm drainage pipe which released the diesel oil into the neighborhood canal, named 20 arpent canal, where it intersects Jacob Drive. It is unclear at this time how the diesel oil entered the municipal storm water system. There is no quantity of diesel released nor benzene or VOC emissions reported.
Residents have requested water, soil and air sample results from Louisiana Dept of Environmental Quality. It is unclear if any samples were taken by the state department.During the same time Murphy Oil Tank 250-2 was scheduled for a cleanout with use of a temporary, portable diesel fuel tank EDMS 44548567.

EDMS 43986164 Dated 10/26/2009 Incident T118824 Oct 19 2009 crude oil spill tank 250-1
130 barrel crude oil spill Tank 250-1 on Oct 19 2009 released to air 12/4 bbl; released to ground 11.6 bbl; estimated emissions 3.91 benzene; 3907 pounds VOC's (Residents called both Murphy Oil and LDEQ to come to the neighborhood about high level of chemical's present; both refused. Murphy reports their subcontractors were monitoring the air).

EDMS 44138747 dated 11/13/2009 Incident T119342 Oct 14 2009 FCCU leak (Late Report - also Benzene emissions rescinded EDMS 44922731 Dated 12/10/2009)
Cat Craker Unit leak releases 44,000 pounds hydrocarbons with 155 pounds benzene from Oct 14 - 17 2009 --- leak at upper manway in #2 FCCU Reactor (Cat Cracker or Hydrocracker) --Application of steam to disperse the vapors. First attempt to repair the leak failed on Oct 15 2009 and leak apparently worsened. Specialty group arrived Oct 16 2009 to measure the manway and access the leak. On Oct 17 2009, as Murphy awaited that repair, the leak worsened, so Murphy shut down the FCCU as a safety precaution. The vendor installed the clamp on Oct 18 2009. The leak was estimated to have lasted 74.5 hours from approximately 09:00 hrs on Oct 14 2009 to 11:300 hrs on Oct 17 2009 when the unit was shut down.Estimated hydrocarbon emissions 44,000 pounds with 155 pounds of benzene. Murphy Oil rescinded notification of benzene release Dec 10 2009. Murphy reported to the National Response Center that this event resulted in the release of benzene in excess of the 10 pounds reportable quantity. Murphy Oil provides Dec 10 2009 update to rescind benzene release notification citing CERCLA 101(14) for exemption from reporting benzene emissions.

EDMS 43622670 Dated 10/05/2009 Incident T118251 #2 TGT Bypbass 09'/27/2009
automatic safety shutdown of #2 SRU apparently due to hydrocarbon breakthrough into the unit. Event 4.2 hours; SO2 emissions estimated at 159 pounds - below reportable.

EDMS 42595515 dated 7/30/2009 T -- SERO 09-04035 July 26 2009 NAPHTHA spill into Mississippi River when there was a malfunction of the unloading hose at approximately 23:30 hours

EDMS 42478747 dated 7/20/2009 T116405 July 13 2009 approximately 10:45 hours maintenance activity on Vacuum Heater - Vacuum Hot Well off-gas routed to flare; estimated SO2 emissions 2,015.5 pounds over 23:40 hours

EDMS 42274096 dated 7/02/2009 T116011 release of Freon CFC R-22 for about 0.5 hours

EDMS 42133553 dated 6/01/2009 T115235 Hydrocracker shutdown May 24 2009 EDMS 42728461 dated 07/31/2009 ; automatic safety shutdown of Hydrocracker Unit triggered by unexpected and sudden shutdown recycle gas compressor; compresor trip found a malfunction occurred during automated switching between logic controller cards. ;resulting SO2 estimated emissions 4,000 pounds in 30 minutes from 4:00 hours to 4:30 hours; the vented material was mostly hydrogen and the release occurred at night; would not be expected to cause adverse offsite impact.

EDMS 40802838 dated 3/23/2009 T112823 Hydrocracker shutdown February 18 2009; EDMS 41177485 dated 4/28/2009 ; automatic safety shutdown of hydrocracker unit triggered by the unexpected and sudden shutdown of recycle gas compressor; compressor trip found that logic controller card malfunctioned due to manufacturer defect; 4,000 pounds SO2 emissions over 30 minutes

EDMS 41161349 dated 4/28/2009 T114001 #2 FCCU reversal on Feb 25 2009, resulting in reportable quantity release of MSDS solids and heavy hydrocarbon vapors; estimated emissions within 30 minutes 35,000 pounds heavy hydrocarbon vapors, 5,165 ounds catalyst, 1,750 pounds particulates

EDMS 39500086 dated 1/22/2009 T110526 Hydrocracker and #3 SRU Startup Oct 31 2008 - Nov 4 2008 Resulted in emissions of sulfur dioxide estimated at 14,983 pounds over 29.5 hours during the five day time frame. Murphy reported the level of resulting emissions would not be expected to cause an adverse offsite impact.

EDMS 39896674 dated 1/16/2009 T112011 # 3 SRU incinerator flameout Jan 13 2009 Brief flameout of the main burner on #3 SRU Incinerator; estimated resulting emissions at 215 pounds of SO2 and 15 pounds of H2S - non RQ

EDMS 39896700 dated 1/16/2009 T111906 Refinery Power Interruption Jan 9 2009;The power interruption lasted less than one second, but triggered safety shutdowns in several units resulting in SO2 estimated esmmions at 235 pounds as well as visible emissions."The power interruption is under investigation. Unplanned shutdowns of units in this manner are undesirable to the refinery, so Murphy is determined to identify and correct the root cause.

EDMS 39500110 dated 1/14/2009 T109794 # 2 FCCU wet gas compressor malfunction Oct 3 2008 ; SO2 emission 1,575 pounds

EDMS 40849944 dated 4/03/2009 T113643 #2 FCCU Wet gas compressor trip March 24 2009 ; apparent result of mafuncition in boiler, triggering steam imbalance and shutting down the steam turbine powering the wet gas compressor; no reportable quantities (RQ) ; no allegations of impact in the surrounding community, just one citizen call inquiring.

Louisiana Dept Environmental Quality website
right hand column menu EDMS
Murphy Oil Meraux refinery AI # 1238

Because We Care

for the health and safety of all people in our parish, those who reside, work or visit; and

Because we want what any other neighborhood wants: clean air, clean water and uncontaminated soil; and for family and friends to live peaceful lives;

We are committed to continue until sustainable solutions are implemented.

Best Wishes for 2010

Townhall Meeting Schedule Change

due to schedule difficulties, the DEQ has canceled and will reschedule the air monitor program presentation
....stay tuned for update
Tuesday Jan 12 2010 10 AM-
Council Conference Room CANCELED

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Serious violations at Meraux refinery

OSHA cites Murphy Oil U.S.A. for alleged safety, health violations

Serious violations at Meraux refinery have not been corrected since OSHA's 2007 inspection.
"OSHA inspectors found that the Murphy refinery often did not respond to deficiencies that had been pointed out during internal safety audits."

Published: 12/30/2009

MERAUX, La. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Murphy Oil U.S.A. Inc. with alleged serious violations of federal health and safety regulations following an inspection at the company’s facility on East St. Bernard Highway in Meraux. Proposed penalties total $85,500, a news release said. OSHA’s Baton Rouge area office began its investigation July 7 as part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for Petroleum Refineries.
The investigation resulted in 18 serious violations, including failing to provide an adequate relief sy...

Today's Rain Forcast

rain forcast for New Orleans area up to 2 inches

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

oil sheen and discharge

December 26 2009
no offsite protective action at release site
oil sheen in discharge from municipal pipe; distinct fuel smell
booms line canal further west

Friday, December 18, 2009

oil in Florida Canal

PARKLAND — It's taken more than seven months, but the city said it now knows why oil and tar balls, just smaller than golf balls, wound up in a canal by the Ranches neighborhood
Full story: South Florida Sun-Sentinel by Huriash -

comments on Florida spill: One can only imagine the birth defects and tetarogenesis that will afflict Parklanders due to this spill. Already incidence of fibromyalgia and migraine is up in the area.

NOTE: St Bernard Parish residents have reported to the State Regulators, Local Fire Department and anyone else who would listen since 2007 - there is oil in the 20 and most recently, oil was also reported in the Jacob Canal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Air Monitoring Townhall Meeting

due to schedule difficulties, the DEQ has canceled and will reschedule ....stay tuned for update
Tuesday Jan 12 2010 10 AM
-Council Conference Room
8201 West Judge Perez Drive - Chalmette

CCAM will host a Townhall Meeting and Present Information on the St Bernard Parish Ambient Air Montoring Systems.

Read the LA DEQ 2009 Report - St Bernard Air Monitoring Project and the departments recommendations to shutdown some of the monitors.The primary purpose of this project was to investigate what caused odors, if odor causing compounds are air toxic and if their concentrations in the ambient air in the Chalmette area are in compliance with the sate and federal ambient air quality standards. In addition, the DEQ was fully to use its facilities to monitor for ozone and fine particulate matter PM2.5 and investigate other compounds such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene that cause no odors at lowered concentrations but are of great health concern for long time exposure even in lower concentrations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


DEQ looking into oily discharge

St Bernard Parish Council's Tuesday December 15, 2009 Meeting, Parish President's report confirmed collapsed cover on storage tank at Murphy Oil in weekend rain events. Corrected action plan includes booms, monitoring and pumping. Update report to include how the oil release was connected to the municipal storm drainage system and accessment of proper notification to parish officials for releases, so to notify residents. Councilmember reported his update from Murphy Oil indicated the refinery is in the process of writing plans for spills and containment procedures for high water events. The release remains under investigation by the state agency. The amount of oil and water released and the tank number is unknown at this time. Reporting a pungent diesel or chemical smell in the neighborhoods around Murphy Oil, residents say the refinery denied any problems and asked the local fire department be called instead.

This is the third occassion in recent months that residents are aware of the refinery's inability to handle rainfall. This is the second time residents called the refinery and were told there were no problems only to discover later there were oil releases.

cloudy, tan discharge flowing quickly on Tuesday

Monday, December 14, 2009

Neighbors of Troubled Refinery Demanding Changes

Cloudy with a chance of Oil

Concerned Citizens Around Murphy
For Immediate Release

Murphy Refinery's Accident Sickens Neighbors

Coast Guard Notified
Neighbors of Troubled Refinery Demanding Changes

(Meraux, LA) Providing still further evidence of its inability to properly manage its refinery during rainfall, Murphy Oil released oil water into the neighborhood canal known as the 20 Arpent Canal. Though details of the spill remain murky, residents on Jacob Drive south of Judge Perez felt the chemical exposure as early as 1 AM on Sunday morning. The exposure continued throughout the day. "Residents on Jacob Drive North of Judge Perez (by canal) reported being sick all morning," said Suzanne Kneale, an officer with Concerned Citizens Around Murphy.

This latest release comes on the heels of last week's Common Ground report that detailed Murphy's high accident rate - one per week - over the past four years. The most well known of its accidents was the 2005 million gallon oil spill, the largest land based oil spill in history. "This latest spill is part of a pattern," said Anne Rolfes, Director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "We're in South Louisiana yet Murphy can't handle rain."

In addition to Murphy's pattern of accidents, this latest spill highlights both the state and Murphy's failure to address the problem of human exposure during chemical accidents. Despite feeling the health impacts, no one was evacuated. "My neighbor contacted me just before noon that her sister was sick all morning from the strong chemical smell," said Ms. Kneale.

Residents are calling for a comprehensive review of evacuation protocol. Residents also want the refinery to reroute the storm water and oily water discharges so not to foul neighborhood canals and nearby wetlands with every rain event.

"Neighborhood children scoop and fish from this canal," said Ms. Kneale. "It's not uncommon to see crab traps in this area. The central wetlands are just a block further north. Allowing an emergency discharge into neighborhood canals is not protective of the environment and undermines our health."

Murphy Oil spill in neighborhood canal December 2009
Check out this slideshow on Photobucket!

chemical smell penetrates homes in Floral Estates subdivision

61074. Smell by nomrgo, 12/14/09 10:59 ET
nola townhall forum

I live down the street from where the latest Murphy bungling happened. We were not home overnight on Saturday.

When we got home on Sunday just before the start of the game, we walked into our house and were immediately hit with a strong odor inside of our house.My wife and I both said that it smelled like oil. (Yes we are both highly aware of what that smells like!)

We had absolutely no idea that any incident had happened at Murphy. We checked the house for sources of the smell, but could not locate any. I then just assumed that perhaps with the rain the night before, the sewer may have backed up and it was just sewer gas we were smelling.

After the game, I was made aware of the USES trucks and workers down the street at the 20 arpent. I went over there and observed the oil booms in the canal and the workers hosing the stuff towards a pickup pump.

A brown oily looking substance was floating on the surface of the canal, both inside and outside of the containment booms. The odor was very strong and exactly what was smelled in my house. I took photos.

So Max and FatNutria, *** ***. I have a right to live in my own home without the expectation that I will routinely be poisoned and subjected to hazardous materials by a refinery who continues to have one screw up after another. They are incompetent.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

oily water release to neighborhood canal

According to DEQ Single Point of Contact, the Murphy Oil Meraux refinery called in an emergency release of oily water into the neighborhood canal, the 20 arpent, at Jacob Drive. Clean up crews were on the scene most of today.

The discharge was from the same municipal storm drainage pipe which released a white opaque discharge on December 7 2009 (shown below). The rain event last night was the third time that residents are aware of Murphy Oil not containing its storm water runoff.

more photos - oily water release

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Permit Modifications and Objections

In August 2009, on behalf of Concerned Citizens, Tulane Environmental Law Clinic submitted comments to LA DEQ asserting Murphy Oil's SO2 emissions calculations incorrect . If the SO2 and VOC emissions were appropriately calculated, "the proposed modifications to Murphy Oil USA Inc's Title V air permit will result in emission increases above thresholds for 'Prevention of Significant Deterioration 'and will therefore require additional controls to protect public health and welfare."

In October 2009, LA DEQ issued the final permit modification and on December 10, 2009, students at Tulane University's Environmental Law Clinic sent, on behalf of CCAM, a formal Petition to EPA Administrator to Object Permit .

Murphy Oil's permit modification is to construct and operate a BenFree Unit to adhere to a new EPA mandate for lower benzene in gasoline products. Concerned Citizens believe clean fuel shouldn't cost air quality .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dept of Environmental Quality Presentation

Tuesday Jan 12 2010 10 AM -

Council Conference Room

8201 West Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette

CCAM will host a Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Presentation on the St Bernard Parish Ambient Air Montoring Systems through DEQ's Community Outreach's EnvironSchool.

Read the LA DEQ 2009 Report - St Bernard Air Monitoring Project and the departments recommendations to shutdown some of the monitors.

The primary purpose of this project was to investigate what caused odors, if odor causing compounds are air toxic and if their concentrations in the ambient air in the Chalmette area are in compliance with the sate and federal ambient air quality standards. In addition, the DEQ was fully to use its facilities to monitor for ozone and fine particulate matter PM2.5 and investigate other compounds such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene that cause no odors at lowered concentrations but are of great health concern for long time exposure even in lower concentrations.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

environmental integrity

Major Victory for Refinery Communities: EIP Praises EPA for Withdrawal of Flawed Refinery Risk Rule - Oct 21, 2009

EIP and other groups called for EPA to reverse the decision because it was based on a gross underestimate of emissions. For example, new remote sensing technologies that directly measure air emissions show that refinery releases of toxic air pollutants can be as much as 100 times higher than EPA predicts.

Monday, November 30, 2009

SO2 standards to change

EPA Proposes Stronger Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide /New standard to protect millions of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens
Release date: 11/17/2009

"Short-term exposures to peak SO2 levels can have significant health effects – especially for children and the elderly – and leave our families and taxpayers saddled with high health care costs," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We’re strengthening clean air standards, stepping up monitoring and reporting in communities most in need, and providing the American people with protections they rightly deserve."

EPA is taking comment on a proposal to establish a new national one-hour SO2 standard, between 50 and 100 parts per billion (ppb). This standard is designed to protect against short-term exposures ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. Because the revised standards would be more protective, EPA is proposing to revoke the current 24-hour and annual SO2 health standards.

Read the LA DEQ 2009 Report - St Bernard Air Monitoring Project and view the ambient air monitoring site data in St Bernard Parish at DEQ's website: use the right hand 'onair' current AQI link and "site data" selection for Meraux, Chalmette High and Chalmette Vista.

CCAM will host a DEQ presentation on air monitoring in St Bernard Parish in January 2010.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Center for American Progress report

Yesterday Clorox announced that it will convert all of its U.S. facilities (CA, GA, FL, IL, MD, TX) from ultra-hazardous chlorine gas to safer liquid bleach. Clorox CEO Donald Knauss said this conversion will, “strengthen our operations and add another layer of security.” For more information on their plans go to:

This is a smart move by Clorox but there at least 284 additional examples chemical facilities that have converted since 1999 in 47 states. For a list of safer chemical facilities in your state and how many people are no longer at risk, see the Center for American Progress(CAP) report at:

gasoline release to river

an unknown amount of gasoline was released to the Mississippi River last week as reported to the United States Coast Guard. The incident was discovered on 27-OCT-09 at 11:55 local time. USCG report Oct 27 2009


on the same day, residents reported a distinct fuel smell of gasoline, however the state agency's followup call reported there were no problems, no violations and no smells of any kind as indicated in the plant's operating logs which were reviewed in the hours long inspection of October 28 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

C A R E for St Bernard

Pollution Reduction Plan Discussion in C A R E Forums

Permitting issues regarding emissions were a great concern to residents. Discussed in detail at the March 29th meeting with experts from different air quality and health fields, St. Bernard Parish residents may be exposed to more air pollutants than the average American citizen.

During recent years Exxon Mobil was charged by the Eastern District of Louisiana (Federal Judge Sarah Vance) to have violated the Clean Air Act 2,629 times. The Concerned Citizens Around Murphy group delivered "notice of violation" letters to the Meraux Petroleum Refinery, the LDEQ and the EPA noting "more than 130 dates, beginning Oct. 15, 2003, and ending Jan. 30, 2008, in which they allege the plant violated the Clean Air Act by releasing pollutants such as sulfur dioxide in excess of its permit limits" (Warren, July 3, 2008).

Citizens seemed to take legal actions due to a lack of clear communication from industry representatives and government regulators.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flaring Reliability Program Update

Those new chemicals are in our air again; perhaps entering your home?

Smell Something Stinky ??

Fill Out an Odor Log and Call, Write or Visit Louisiana DEQ Online

Residents are still pursuing answers to why there is so much recurring flaring.
If you would like to help, please log your experiences with date, time, odor, smoke, noise, vibration, and flare observations and send to Louisiana DEQ or call 1-888-763-5424 or go to online services -- incident reports at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Revitalized Neighborhoods

as neighbors we revitalized our neighborhood, not only the structures but also the 'community'

subsequent to these efforts, parts of the neighborhood have been placed in a politically decided buyup. While the adjacent areas may soon be the new fenceline, subjected to even more emissions from yet another pending expansion ?

the balance shifts further towards industry, with the out-of-town corporation reaping all the profits, our local government enticed with the promise of a larger tax base and future donations, and the residents taking all the environmental and health burdens.

What we are asking -- at the very least -- is for our local officials to acknowledge, if not actively protect, our rights -- as we have the same rights as any other neighborhood -- and to especially protect our right to secure tenure. and in protecting everyone's right to return to live in the Gulf Coast Region, we help secure our own rights to remain.

this website link to photography work by Sam Kittner (below) focuses on the human effects of such adroit or artful maneuvers by hazardous industry(s).

Before the Bull-doze Revielletown, Louisiana
Project Description Buyout: The Breakup of Communities in the Shadow of Hazardous Industry

""business as usual without the press of local liability""--Kittner

Friday, October 23, 2009

a sincere and grateful greeting to our visitors who, from all walks of life and communities near and far, came to this neighborhood with prayers and inspirations for our future

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Katrina has made an environmentalist out of everybody." --- Monique Harden, New Orleans area human rights attorney
Oil Spill Respond by University of Michigan
Page 7

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"LDEQ also requested the status of excess VOC emission from Tank 200-7 (EQT042) as part of the Heavy Oils Tank Cap (GRP0007). These emissions are subject to compliance Order AE-CN-08-0122A. Originally, MOUSA self-report to LDEQ that VOC emissions from this tank were estimated at 558.8 @/hr, exceeding the Maximum Allowable Emission Rate of 1.15 #/hr (with corresponding annual emission exceedances in tons per year). The suspected exceedances were based on MOUSA's calculation of emissions based on No. 6-Oil flash point data and Reid Vapor Pressure determinations, whereas the permitted emissions were based on published AP-42 emissions factors. MOUSA also self-reported that the No. 6 fuel oil may have exceeded the 1.5 psia trigger for controls at Tank 200-7. This VOC emission rate would result in an exceedance of the Heavy Oil Tanks Cap for 2008 (513.8 tpy actual vs. 7.2 tpy permitted)."

Additional information BenFree Unit submitted to state agency

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Murphy Oil Meraux refinery
FCCU restart Oct 19 2009

Charter Change Presentation Tuesday

The Home Rule Charter Change Committee will make a presentation at Tuesday's Council Meeting, October 20, 2009 at 4PM in the Council Chambers, per Charter Committee Chairman Joey Di Fatta. The Home Rule Charter Change Committee will meet Monday October 19, 2009 4pm in Council Office Conference Room to discuss the presentation.

Home Rule Charter St Bernard Parish
The Charter was passed by 73% of the voters on November 8, 1988 and amended only four times since.

The St Bernard Parish Council will also consider a Resolution to adopt the FY 2010 Capital Outlay Budget at Tuesday's meeting.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

steam noise update

Friday October 16, 2009 around 8:15am continuous high pitch tone at excessive decibel levels for about an hour throughout the neighborhood west of the processing area. Readings in the high 80's in immediate area while seven blocks out the outdoor readings were in the high 70's and indoor readings around 65 db.

Murphy Oil reported a leak on the cat unit (the hydrocracker unit added in 2003) which was clamped and brought under control with no emergency situation . The use of steam, to knock down the hydrocarbon liquids, created the sound levels. Residents observed birds taking immediate flight and many pets displayed reaction to the disturbing noise.

Earlier last month refinery contractors returned to the neighborhood with noise sensors placed at about 3 foot levels among trees and fences in this same area. It was said that Murphy Oil is looking into installing a hurricane proof sound wall to abate their noise. No further details on site selection nor wall height were available; although, sound walls along Jefferson Parish Interstate tend to run at the 35 to 50 foot height, with placement in the existing commercial usage.

While noise abatement plans within side the processing campus are appreciated, it would seem near impossible to build at a height necessary to effect the frequent and disturbing steam-use noise sources . Friday's episode, while a short-duration necessity for safety, was near the top level of the leaking unit. Boilers and other steam sources for flaring events and regular plant processing usage are also located at taller heights.

Sensor equipment placed near bird feeders on Despaux Drive in early September 2009. Below, location of other monitors on Ventura, near Ohio Street.

Residents are concerned they will not be notified regarding further imposed neighborhood changes which may once again shift the balance towards industry. Already this past week has seen the clearing of trees north of the 20 arpent canal, presumably to prepare for the tank farm expansion just east of Jacob Drive. As indicated in the document, residents were not informed of the tank expansion location at the time of the June 19 2007 public hearing . Illustrations of the locations of the four new storage tanks were an inadvertent omission in the application package.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Murphy Oil denied the accusations and said that the pipe is not theirs.

Refinery flooding neighborhood
story on WDSU TV tonight.

Murphy Oil denied the accusations and said that the pipe is not theirs.

Ok Murphy Oil, if you didnt hire a backhoe, move all the employees vehicles, dig up the EXXON-Houston Pipelines and install the "Home Depot" type of unauthorized drainage, does that mean you have a security problem? would it help to make
Basic Fence Repairs ?

Shouldnt you at least be concerned that your processing campus is flooding into our residential neighborhood?
Meanwhile, the Murphy Oil refinery processing campus drains into the neighborhood canal because the refinery's open ditch overflows. This pollution, along with storm water runoff from the contaminated tank farms, fouls the Jacob and 20 arpent neighborhood canals. Murphy Oil should fix it already instead of denial.

buyout for establishment of green belt around refinery

August 3 2009 document on Murphy Oil Crude Oil spill

…”a buyout program for the establishment of a green belt around the refinery…”

August 8 2009 constituent correspondence Murphy Oil Crude Oil spill

September 11 2009 agency response to constituent

…”a buyout program for the establishment of a green belt around the refinery…”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Murphy Oil's SO2 calculations deficient

Murphy Oil presented netting calculations that suggest incorrectly that the net increase in emissions from these modifications is below Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) significance thresholds and thus do not trigger New Source Review (NSR).

Murphy Oil's SO2 emissions calculations incorrect

Air Permit Objections

Public Hearing Comments

The proposed permit seeks to use gasoline tanks with fixed roof(s), to route the BenFree Unit (BFU) to an inadequate gas recovery system, and to route H2S rich vent streams to the flare. To protect public health and safety, Louisiana DEQ must require stringent application of the best available controls to achieve the lowest emissions into the air we breathe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MRGO Wetland Restoration

Community Forum
Tuesday August 11th 6:30pm Council on Aging Building

The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet has always
been a great concern to St. Bernard
Parish. Today, the MRGO is closed to
navigation, but the most critical step toward
protection remains.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Air Emission Update

May 24, 2009 -- 4,000 pounds of SO2 in 30 minutes ---
Hydrocracker automatic safety shutdown

"This level of emissions would not be expected to cause adverse offsite impact, and no allegations of impact were received from neighbors in the surrounding community." The incident is still under investigation LA EDMS 42133553

February 25, 2009 -- 35,000 pounds of heavy hydrocarbon within 5 minutes ------
FCCU Reversal

"The episode resulted in estimated emissions of 35,000 pounds of heavy hydrocarbon vapors, 5,165 pounds of catalyst, and 1,1750 pounds of particulates as smoke."LA DEQ EDMS 40817686


Parish Government Officials are as perplexed as Murphy Oil and Exxon Pipeline groups as to whodunit !!

Someone, without a parish permit or a phone call to 811 Call Before Digging, entered the refinery parking lot with a backhoe, had the vehicles moved, excavated the newly installed crude oil pipeline and installed a drainage system which adversely effects residential homes.

It's a classic, as the residents are provided no clues with which to deduct the identity of the perpetrator.

green belt

August 3 2009 document on Murphy Oil Crude Oil spill refers to ""a buyout program for the establisment of a green belt around the refinery""

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

no noise zone

July 29, 2009


Mr. Wayne Landry
St. Bernard Parish Councilman-At-Large
8201 West Judge Perez Drive
Chalmette,  LA  70043


Dear Mr. Landry:


Thank you for hosting the July 22, 2009 meeting, which began discussions with Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery on a variety of issues that have an immediate and adverse impact on health, safety and quality of life.  Specifically, Murphy Oil identified known sources of past excessive noise levels and vibrations to our homes. 


We have an unfortunate zoning situation with heavy industry adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Despite its industrial zoning, excessive noise is out of place and unwelcome here.  No neighborhood should be subjected to such "typical refinery noises" yet these noises continue to disturb us at all times of the day and night.  Therefore, measures that are appropriate for normal industry practice are inadequate under these circumstances.  Murphy Oil must recognize the need to do more than other refineries that are properly buffered from residences. 


Throughout the recent past, residents have endured countless days of continuous ear-splitting noise levels or roaring noise that sounds like jet engines.  One noise source Murphy Oil identified was a steam atomizer on an over 140 foot-high flare.  Residents made numerous complaints to the refinery, yet, Murphy Oil did not repair this atomizer for a long time.  Now, Murphy Oil identified another noise source: the new low-NOx burners.  When the next excessive noise once again forces us to leave the area or become prisoners in our own homes, what plans will our local officials’ have in place?


These issues are serious and will not go away until the residents are truly protected with sustainable, long-term solutions. Residents must be protected to a higher standard than typical OSHA regulations, and it is our local officials’ duty to implement an enforceable compliance plan. Periodic meetings may help Murphy Oil continue to address their residential neighbors’ concerns.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lessons Learned from Storms Past






Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Hurricane Season....Is your canal ready?

Jacob Canal culvert at Judge Perez is blocked from litter, sediment and debris from the refinery's makeshift parking lot. The overgrowth is unacceptable. According to Parish Public Works, Murphy Oil has been responsible to maintain the canal. Residents report the Jacob Canal was recently cleared at the construction site for the lab, but not in the area which directly effects the residential homes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Clean fuel shouldn’t cost air quality

Letter to the Editor:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made good changes to the gasoline we use in our vehicles.

One of the first changes was to mandate unleaded gasoline, which has provided a healthier environment for us and our children. Then came low-sulfur gasoline, which also introduced ethanol into the product. Now the EPA requires a low-benzene gasoline.

While reduction of volatile organic compounds from our vehicles is an important goal to which we should all do our part to be part of the solution, it should not come at the cost of the little good air that is left in our neighborhoods around refineries.

The air quality in fenceline neighborhoods can be so poor at times that residents shelter themselves in place or hold their noses when they are on the roads that pass through some of the state’s 17 refinery facilities.

Louisiana law prohibits the state Department of Environmental Quality from issuing a permit that maintains a nuisance or a danger to public health and safety, and furthermore, technology exists that could protect public health and reduce toxic air emissions in fenceline communities.

Louisiana DEQ should require extra air monitoring to ensure its 17 refineries’ air permit limits are maintained, and air monitoring may even help the refineries become more efficient.

To protect public health and the quality of air we breathe, the best available technology should be utilized to result in the lowest achievable emission levels. That would be the best approach to maintaining a balance between our residential districts and our heavy-industry neighbors.

Without the installation and maintenance of appropriate pollution controls, the balance will unjustly shift toward industry — as we have so often witnessed — and that undermines our health and safety as well as that of our children.

Monday, June 22, 2009

LA DEQ EnvironSchool -- Remediation

RECAP = Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program values

LA DEQ has a class on Remediation July 9, 2009, from 10am to noon in Elmwood.

For more information:

Tomeka Prioleau 225.219.0877

LA DEQ Public Hearing July 7, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2008, beginning at 6:00 p.m

Nunez Community College Auditorium, 3710 Parish Road, Chalmette, LA

During the hearing, all interested persons will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed permit.

Copy of Permit may be viewed at the St Bernard Parish Public Library

Written comments or written requests for notification of the final permit decision regarding this permit may also be submitted to

Ms. Soumaya Ghosn at LDEQ, Public Participation Group,
P.O. Box 4313, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313
Fax (225)219- 3309

Written comments and/or written requests for notification must be received by 12:30 p.m., Thursday, July 9, 2009.

All correspondence should specify AI Number 1238, Permit Number 2500-00001-V5, and Activity Number PER20090002

Permit maybe viewed at

EAS maybe viewed at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

neighbors and neighborhoods

please, take a stand for safe and productive neighborhoods

like other neighborhoods, our's around the refinery, presented our
long range plans to the council, and it was supported by our valid
petition to keep the existing zoning and existing fenceline.

what we are really asking for is the full council's support for us to
retain our equal rights to revitalization and to keep our restored

with little to no representation and everything to lose, we presented
our views in court yesterday. and while the expected ruling may put an
end to the out of class - oil spill litigation's in Arabi and other
areas, our neighborhood's struggles are just beginning.

the Judge recently said, a parish divided is like a country divided,
it does not work.

we all need to support each other's neighborhoods.

government officials who would, to their own people, indicate a trade
of homes and neighborhoods for an unbridled expansion, well,there is
no such thing in America....maybe in other forms of government, sure,
but not here.

Our economic development goals should not be at the cost of
individuals homes and revitalized neighborhoods.

our economic development goals should have safe and productive, family oriented
neighborhoods as a primary goal.

May 19 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Villere Donation Request

The case arose from environmental wrongdoings and demonstrated
Murphy's difficulty in keeping its agreements. It could be that had the
defendant kept its hurricane preparedness agreement, we may not be here
before the court; but we are.

A commitment to the settlement agreement for greenspace; the greenspace which exists now, together with another Pres proposal, the donation of the historical Villere property, are better suited for Cy Pres projects around our existing residential neighborhoods than the zoning changes proposed in as presented to the residents.

Preserving the settlement agreement for greenspace and the donation of the Villere Property, which is located between the future tank farm expansion and our exiting Floral Estates Subdivision, not only acts as a reminder to Murphy Oil to keep its agreements and be more careful with oil tanks in a flood plain, but it can also become a reminder to our citizens of Murphy Oil's valuable part of our community.

The Villere Plantation"s historic tree line and brick structure are part of the actual British Invasion to the Battle of New Orleans 1814-1815.

In time for the 200 year anniversary, the donation from Murphy Oil could be part of St Bernard Parish's historical past while honoring our community"s promising future. Again, Murphy Oil is a valuable part of our community's future and they could take this opportunity to be a better neighbor and to keep agreements.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Turner v Murphy Cy Pres Hearing

RE: Turner V Murphy Case No 05 - 4206
CY PRES Settlement Proposal

Honorable Judge Fallon:

It was with the agreement for green space mentioned in the Fairness Hearing that residents sold the square footage of their homes to Murphy Oil in first place. There seems to be no basis to change the agreement now.

Please consider those families who chose not to participate in the voluntary buyout program, as they have little to no representation and everything to lose.

Please consider the health and safety benefits of a true green zone protective buffer, which would have neither trees nor building to provide for an explosion clearance.

The proposed distribution of $5 million considers to include an Item # e Landscaping and Beautification of Our Neighborhoods. The concern is this maybe the same "Plan" residents rejected as presented in the St Bernard Parish Council's buffer zone committee, as it called for industrial and commercial zoning changes to buyout properties, changes to the court ordered buffer for the benefit of Murphy Oil's use as a northside parking lot and a southside incursion into our neighborhood by way of a row of buildings on Jacob Drive South of Judge Perez Drive.

The suggestion in item # e that Murphy Oil landscape the buyout neighborhood by way of industrial and commercial landuse zoning changes, albeit for parking lots and a row of buildings, is a determent to the residents who have returned, provides nothing towards the safety of the community and lowers the buffer, bringing the next explosion that much closer to our homes. Such industrial and commercial use of the buyout properties rewards Murphy Oil with unjust enrichment for an incident of their own negligence.

If Murphy Oil wants to donate funding for healthcare, wetlands or education it would be a much appreciated contribution for the community as a whole without causing individual families the lost of rebuilt homes and lost of an entire neighborhood for others. However, the donation should NOT come from buyout funding because the buyout is not yet complete.

The neighborhoods around Murphy Oil's Louisiana refinery in Meraux have been revitalized since as early as Fall 2005 and are a vibrant part of the Southeast Louisiana community of St Bernard Parish which has experienced rapid repopulation and rebuilding, due to the spirit and commitment of returning residents.

Yet, our soil is still contaminated and most likely unsafe to grow vegetables or fruits and berries.

There is no commitment to preserve the Turner v Murphy settlement agreement for a green space court ordered buffer.

Residents have reported structural damage claims due to the vibrations from malfunctions at the refinery and the air quality and our health and safety have suffered from unauthorized emission releases.

Please keep our neighborhood in mind with these considerations.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

air emission update

Update -- 35,000 pounds of heavy hydrocarbon within 5 minutes

"The episode resulted in estimated emissions of 35,000 pounds of heavy hydrocarbon vapors, 5,165 pounds of catalyst, and 1,1750 pounds of particulates as smoke."

LA DEQ EDMS 40817686

Murphy was checking the area near the plant for any offsite impact, but Zornes said he was unaware of any.

Fire official: orange smoke from Murphy Oil not dangerous

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Good Fences Make Good Neighbours"

The neighbors requested that Murphy Oil be a good neighbor and perform basic fence repairs and a few improvements, such as installing fence fabric or mesh.

We believe this is a win-win opportunity because it will address a longstanding problem, it may bring the refinery into local code compliance, and it may even mitigate some of the corporation's safety and liability issues.

While there is no such thing as an impermeable fence, clearly it is the industry's responsibility to do what ever is necessary to comply. Given the close proximately and inherent dangers of their refinery, one would expect a corporate commitment which goes beyond the requirements of the law.

A good corporate citizen's daily operations demonstrate respect for the residents on the other side of the fenceline. Simple compliance with its existing federal permits, state and local laws will allow this industry and neighborhood to continue peaceful coexistence.

Monday, March 9, 2009

fence screen

Our neighborhood is nestled between St. Bernard Parish's only high school and Murphy Oil's Meraux refinery. The only thing separating our homes from the refinery is a mere pipeline easement. Murphy Oil Corp. continues its use of this pipeline easement as a makeshift parking lot.
The neighbors requested that Murphy Oil be a good neighbor and perform basic fence repairs and a few improvements, such as installing fence fabric or mesh.

We believe this is a win-win opportunity because it will address a longstanding problem, it may bring the refinery into local code compliance, and it may even mitigate some of the corporation's safety and liability issues.

Murphy Oil Corp. has not answered our request. An inexpensive, simple solution is readily available, and our children's and grandchildren's safety is too important to be ignored.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why we need fenceline monitoring

Yesterday's two episodes highlight the need for good information at the time of release.

With real time data, residents can make their own informed decisions.

Murphy Oil's 125,000 barrel per-day Meraux refinery and our neighborhoods around Murphy have a similar yet very different history from that of the EPA Region 9 Featured Story linked below. The same solutions should be sought in all of our community's fenceline neighborhoods.

""The unprecedented Good Neighbor Agreement mandated not only state-of-the-art, real-time, 24-hour optical sensing of dozens of chemicals, but also required the sharing of all data with the community, and placement of a real-time computer monitoring screen in the home of a local resident. ""

February 25, 2009 incident

Some St. Bernard Parish residents report heavy smoke from Murphy refinery stack

by The Times-PicayuneWednesday February 25, 2009, 2:51 PM

This yellowish discharge was brought down to street level in yesterday's variable winds.

The last photograph was taken around 5:15PM presumably during the subsequent startup.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

benzene saturation unit

Murphy Oil USA, Inc. submitted a significant modification application for The Meraux Refinery Title V/Part 70 air quality permit on February 25, 2009 in Vol. 1 and  Vol. 2. The application is to construct and operate a benzene saturation unit to produce low benzene gasoline products.  The proposed pollution permit seeks to use gasoline tanks with fixed roof(s), to route the "BenFree Unit" (BFU) to an inadequate gas recovery system, and to route H2S rich vent streams to the flare. To protect public health and safety, Louisiana DEQ must require stringent application of the best available controls to achieve the lowest emissions into the air we breathe.

The minimum minor modification fee was assessed, since there was no increase in the capacity at the facility.
Additionally, an air toxins surcharge was applied to the permit fee, since some emission rates will increase by an amount greater than the regulatory minimum emission rate for known carcinogens, human reproductive toxins, or known and probable carcinogens. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

February 6 2009

Opinion of Mike Sherwood submitted to resident members of the Buffer zone

Because the term “buffer zone” has not been defined or agreed on by the
residents and Murphy representatives, I cannot include or exclude parks, parking
lots or buildings as acceptable contents of this buffer zone.

Presently the empty space is somewhat of an effective buffer between the
residential neighborhoods and the refinery.

A master plan was requested (from Murphy Oil) by residents and our Parish
President and remains unavailable. A master plan in our opinion should include
the entire buffer zone plan, or projected plan by Murphy officials, from the
forty arpent canal to the Mississippi River. It should include their intentions
for the long term use of the entire buffer zone property insofar as expansion
or in utilizing buffer zone property to relocate existing facilities within
their present day fence line to buffer zone property accommodating further
expansion of refining processes.

The present offer by Murphy officials was to exchange a portion of buffer zone
property for the right to remove several residential streets in order to build
a parking area for temporary/contract Murphy employees. The property (received
by the Parish) was intended by Murphy officials to be used as a residential park
built and maintained with parish funds and funds donated by unspecified
organizations. It is my opinion that, while parks seem on the surface to be
desirable, Val Reiss park potentially fills the need of park facilities in this
neighborhood. Furthermore, since funds are not available presently to refurbish
our existing parks, building another park might prove to be an excessive burden
on the parish and otherwise unnecessary. There were other concerns regarding the
traffic flow on the one remaining street and other associated logistic issues
resulting from the street removal.

Residents in the area are skeptical and untrusting due to the lack of
information. Residents appear to view a “buffer zone” as an empty area devoid of
any structures or use other than forest . The residents are not in favor of
changing zoning in the buffer zone from residential to any other zoning
designation at this time.

While Murphy officials presented a generous offer, at this time there are too
many unanswered questions. Murphy officials stated on several occasions at the
most recent Buffer zone Committee meeting that their stance was that if the
committee members did not accept this suggested plan, there was no other plan
and that the property would remain as it is. Or to be more succinct Murphy
representatives comment was interpreted by several residents and members as this
or nothing. As previously stated above, empty space is a buffer.

I remain encouraged by the dialogue over the past few months and appreciate the
effort put forth by all parties. I recommend to committee members that the offer
on the table today by Murphy USA be rejected. I again ask Murphy USA to provide
a comprehensive master plan for the buffer zone and that the council place a
moratorium on any further use of the buffer zone property until such a plan is
presented to this committee.

I would ask the parish council to formally adopt the definition of the buffer
zone in Chalmette adjacent to the Murphy Oil plant as an area devoid of all
structures or use by residents or Murphy with the exception of forest.

Mike Sherwood

Buffer Zone Committee Chair

Blog Archive