Friday, November 16, 2012

Power Outages at Valero Energy

2012 power outages


Valero's Meraux refinery has reported several power outages in 2012 that resulted in emergency flaring releases to-date of over 23,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide over the permitted amounts.

On May 2, 2012, although Valero reported a release of only 2,100 pounds of sulfur dioxide, Valero's air monitor on Ventura Drive in Chalmette measured sulfur dioxide levels in the neighborhood's air at 120 parts per billion SO2, well over the EPA sulfur health standard of 75 ppb SO2. No alerts were sent forth to residents.

Incident 139318 EDMS 8431647

In the July 21, 2012 startup from a downed electrical transformer, Valero's air monitor on Ventura Drive measured hydrogen sulfide at 78 ppb H2S. Valero has reported an estimated pollution release of 1,830 pounds SO2 and 19 pounds hydrogen sulfide. Louisiana doesnot have a health standard for hydrogen sulfide; the State of California limits air quality to 30 ppb H2S.Incident 141430 EDMS 8482465



April 10, 2012 Valero reported a faulty transfer switch at the power company's substation resulted in total refinery-wide power interruption. The refinery lost all power, didnot have radios or telephones to communicate and had only emergency backup lights. The "emergency" pollution releases continued for over 94 hours . Valero's initial sulfur emission estimates of 4,000 pounds were later revised to 15,199 pounds SO2 and 135 pounds hydrogen sulfide.  The DEQ 'Meraux' Site monitor measured sulfur dioxide levels at 21 ppb.   Incident 138647 EDMS 8469365

( Initial estimate EDMS 8459094 )

April 2, 2012 Valero reported a lightning strike tripped the charge pump on the hydrocracker unit, causing the safety shutdown of the unit and subsequent startup. Estimated pollution releases were reported as: 4,500 pounds sulfur dioxide and 49 pounds of hydrogen sulfide. Incident 13850 EDMS 8424052


Link to Valero's Ventura Drive monitor:
Link to DEQ's Site Data monitors, select "Meraux"


Link to Valero's Ventura Drive air toxin sample results


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