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Valero (26003), Norco

LDEQ Accident Report

Accident #148110
PDF AvailablePDF
State Police #13-01595
Accident Date2013-04-14
Report Date 2013-04-19
Follow-up Date 2013-06-14
Follow-up: Yes

Pollutants Released

Pollutant Duration Point Source Greenhouse Gas Criteria Pollutant Ozone forming chemical Amount of Release
Sulfur Dioxide11h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NOYESNO47,536.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide11h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NONONO144.0 pounds
NOx11h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NONOYES662.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)11h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NONOYES27.0 pounds
Carbon Monoxide11h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NOYESNO3.0 pounds
Particulate Matter 1011h 40mFlares 1, 2, and 4NOYESNO22.0 pounds

Accident Classified As: Reportable Quantity

Cause of Problem: Under Investigation

On April 14, 2013, at approximately 07:Sl, the Coker WGC malfunctioned, resulting in a unit shutdown and a release to the flare of approximately 47,S36 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 144 pounds of hydrogen sulfide. The WGC tripped offline and could not be restarted due to a malfunction of the compression thrust bearing. Monitoring of the compression thrust data did not indicate prior degradation of the bearing. The bearing is believed to have failed from steam condensation due to a boiler malfunction approximately 2S minutes before the WGC tripped. The boiler malfunction caused the steam temperature to drop to the saturation point. Additionally, there was missing and damaged insulation found along the steam header upstream of the WGC. The missing insulation along with the heavy rain that was in the area during the time of the incident could have contributed to the drop in steam temperature to the saturation point. Emissions were minimized by reducing the crude rate by approximately SO percent and by shutting down the delayed coker unit.

Discharge Preventable - No

This incident was not reasonably preventable because the drop in steam temperature was likely caused from an unexpected boiler trip and there was no indication of degradation to the thrust bearing prior to the WGC malfunction.

Notes/Remedial Actions

Emissions were minimized by reducing the crude rate by approximately 50% and by shutting down the delayed coker unit. Follow up report details procedures or measures which have or will be adopted to prevent recurrence: 1. Communicate this incident to all affected personnel 2. Replace missing or damaged insulation on the steam header 3. Evaluate Mud Legs for performance and adequacy 4. Evaluate the need for an inline separator on the 650-lb steam to the WGC 5. Perform an infrared (IR) camera scan of the 650-lb steam header