Home Search Emissions Pollutants About the Database

Chalmette Refining (1376), Chalmette

Causal Factor: Corrosion

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release

Cause: pipe carrying sour water developed a corrosion leak.

Followup: No

Notes: Leak fixed with a clamp. Line was returned to service after clamping. Pipe was scheduled for inspection and maintenance.
Sour Water: 250.0 gallons

Vapor Recovery Unit Field Sump
Cause: a small quantity of rust had covered the magnet on the rocker arm of the VRU High Level Shutdown Switch, causing it to stick.

Followup: No

Notes: Operators shut down the VRU ending the discharge. Switch assemblies were replaced.
Light Alkylate: 266.0 pounds

Cat Feed Hydrotreater Unit
Cause: piping failure due to corrosion from leak of DGA and H2S into piping system from DGA contactor. Drop in reactor pressure on the CFHT unit. Leak on outlet piping of the Fin Fan. Emer. shutdown due internal corrosion from a leak of diglycolame/Hydrogen Sulfide

Followup: No

Notes: Emergency shutdown was initiated. Water spray was applied to decrease emissions until the unit could be safely depressured. CRLLC inspected entire piping system and ID' other corroded areas. CRLLC plans to increase frequency of outlet piping system inspections. DEQ letter of 10/11/07 indicates that incident will be referred to enforcement because it is preventable.
Hydrogen Sulfide: 2,334.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds: 24,066.0 pounds

Cat Feed Hdyrotreater Unit (CFHT) / EPN 28
Cause: leak started on the rich DGA pipe from the DGA Contractor on the Cat Feed Hydrotreater Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Temporary clamp partially contained the leak until the permanent clamp could be manufactured and installed on 8/13/07. Follow-up letter of 9/19/07 revises amt of release from 5333 lbs to an unspecified amt below 5000 lbs.


Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit Process Gas Compressor (FCC) (PGC) -- EPN 28
Cause: The FCC PGC tripped due to a blown fuse that was corroded. Due to the loss of the PGC the overhead vapors were released to the #1 flare.

Followup: No

Notes: Immediate restart was attempted when attempsts to restart failed, feed was diverted from the FCC reactor to m. flaring. Fuses were replaced due to corrosion.
Sulfur Dioxide: 5,471.0 pounds

Orthoxylene Rundown tanks
Cause: leak on on an orthoxylene product line going to the orthoxylene rundown tanks due to external corrosion.

Followup: No

Notes: Repairs will be made to modify plugged line and execute a permanent seal welded repair during the next scheduled shut down. Letter sent to rescind notification of 4/19/07 concerning release of Orthoxylene
Orthoxylene: 685.0 pounds

Continuous Catalyst Regenerator
Cause: Leak developed in pipe within CCR, resulting in release of HCl

Followup: No

Notes: Leak was clamped.
Hydrochloric Acid: 102.0 pounds

Benzene Recover Unit Tank
Cause: Benzene recovery unit tank leak due to external corrosion

Followup: No

Notes: A containment boom was placed on the visible liquid. Released liquids were recovered via vacuum truck.

Number 1 Coker API Separator
Cause: leak in an undergd line used to pump the Number 1 Coker API to the refinery API due to external corrosion

Followup: No

Notes: An engineered clamp was installed to repair the leak
Heavy Gas Oil: 38.0 gallons

No information given
Cause: corrosion on relief line

Followup: No

Notes: Oil captured in refinery storm drain and treated/recovered. Letter states that emissions were BRQ.
Crude Oil: 4.0 gallons

Low Sulfur Diesel Loading Line
Cause: leak in the the Low Sulfur Diesel Loading line

Followup: No

Notes: CRLLC immediately introduced water to the line to displace the product in the line which stopped the release of hydrocarbons. Replaced corroded section of line with new piping. Previously inaccessible areas are now opent to routine inspection
Low sulfur diesel: 213.0 pounds

SRU Train 1 Acid Gas Burner assembly
Cause: internal corrosion from acid gas condensation is suspected to have caused the leak on the underside of the gas burner assembly.

Followup: No

Notes: SRU operator switched the combustion source from oxygen to air to stop the flow of acid gas through the portion of the acid gas burner assembly where the leak occurred. Metallurgy of nozzle will be be reevaluated for service and it is planned that the nozzle will be replaced during the late 2008 turnaround.
Hydrogen Sulfide: 116.0 pounds

Paraxylene line from Tank D6343 to Tank D2
Cause: leak in a paraxylene line from Tank D6343 to Tank D2

Followup: No

Notes: Upon discovery, line between the tanks was removed from service and the transfer of paraxylene was stopped. All released liquids were recovered via vacuum truck for appropriate reprocessing. Impacted soil was excavated and containerized for disposal. Temporary clamp used to minimize the leak until a permanent clamp could be manufactured.
Paraxylene: 239.0 pounds

pipeline to Tank 300
Cause: During the unloading of a crude oil ship, there was a 3/4" bleeder that had become dislodged from the line during transfer. However in subsequent investigations, they found that the nipple on the crude line had failed due to internal corrosion which was the root cause of the release.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Had 2 follow up reports- August 28, 2009 and September 23, 2009. Operators stopped unloading and closed inlet valves to the line manifold and Tank 300. A drip pan was placed below the line opening and a vacuum truck was stationed by the drip pan to store the oil. The contaminated soil was also removed.
Sweet Crude Oil: 2,997.0 pounds
Sweet Crude Oil: 296.0 pounds

Underground pipe near Tank 1004
Cause: "Approximately 4.7 barrels of diesel leaked from an above grade pipe, near facility Tank 1004, that had been buried. The leak was the result of external corrosion in the pipe.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ. A vacuum truck was used to recover gallons of diesel, and approximately cubic yards of contaminated earth were removed. The contaminated earth was disposed of at landfill. Repairs to the pipe were completed on 6/17/10 when a new section of pipe was re-routed.
Diesel Fuel: 1,402.0 pounds

FLARE: #1 Flare (Solenoid Valve)
Cause: LDEQ states that the failure was caused by corrosion in the solenoid. An unplanned activation of the solenoid valve occurred, and the FCC Process Gas Compressor was shut down. Eventually, gasses were vented to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: Process rates were decreased, and the incident was given to the unit engineer for review. The solenoid was replaced, and the weatherization of the system was updated. LDEQ Report included. No Refinery Letter.


Line leak and Tank 68
Line leak at Tank 68
Tank 68
Cause: Oil was initially discovered in the area of Tank 68 (Alkylate storage)on October 20, 2011. The amount released to the environment was initially estimated to be less that reportable quantities, so no immediate notifications were required. A sample was collected in order to determine the root cause of the leak. On the morning of October 21, liquid was again observed coming from the bottom of the tank, and the lab sample results concurrently confirmed the oil to be alkylate. At approximately 0935 hours on October 21, 2011 a separate incident occurred when a retired line in a ground level piperack in the Treating Area was found to be leaking. The initial amount observed was approximately fourteen gallons of undetermined hydrocarbon, and both emissions and the amount in soil were determined to be less than the reportable quantities. Foam was also applied to the leak areas in order to mitigate odors and emissions. On October 21, 2011, at approximately 1400 hours, oil began accumulating at an increased rate at Tank 68, and it was determined that considering the two releases together, reportable quantities were potentially exceeded for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and benzene, and notifications were made. Several inches of water were introduced into Tank 68 on October 22 to displace the hydrocarbon layer on the tank floor. This ended the hydrocarbon release in excess of a reportable quantity. Additionally, line isolation efforts on the retired line in the Treating Area were performed on October 24, 2011, ending the release in excess of a reportable quantity. Visual observation and monitoring confirmed no ongoing leak to the environment at that time. Cleanup of the area was completed at 1600 hours on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Vacuum trucks were used to remove the oil and water from Tank 68, containing the release to the smallest area possible. Mitigation efforts to reduce amount to the environment emissions at Tank 68 also included the introduction of water into the tank to successfully displace the hydrocarbon from the leak interface on Saturday, October 22. The tank was emptied and removed from service on November 7, 2011, ending the release. Cleanup of the area is ongoing. Foam was applied to the area of the line leak, to reduce the emissions from the event. Vacuum trucks were used to recover the hydrocarbon and water, and the line was isolated October 24, ending the reportable release. United States Environmental Services also arrived Monday, October 24 to assist with cleanup of the ares, which was completed November 1, 2011. Tank 68 was cleaned, and initial inspection was performed on December 7, 2011. A repair scope is currently under development, which will implement corrective actions to mitigate corrosion potential for the tank floor.
Hydrocarbon: 7,229.0 pounds
Benzene: 9,204.0 pounds
Oil: 1,932.0 gallons

fin fan on the Cat Feed Hydrotreater
Cause: Aire release of hydrogen sulfide and compressed flammable gas from fin fan on Cat Feed Hydrotreater at Chalmette Refining. According to the refinery letter, "the Cat Feed Hydrotreater (CFHT)Unit lost power during a transformer switch, resulting in a pressure increase, and the subsequent leak on the E-7778 fin fan." It was determined that the cause was premature corrosion in the overhead fin fans of the CFHT Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ of hydrogen sulfide. BRQ of VOCs. Inventory was removed from the unit and system pressure was reduced in order to stop the leak and make necessary repairs Chalmette Refining retained U.S. Risk Management to perform community monitoring during the event. The fin fan tube was isolated until repairs and/or replacement are completed.
Hydrogen Sulfide: 111.3 pounds


Corroded line into Benzene Recovery Unit (BRU), Tank 6304
Cause: A run down line into a benzene recovery unit feed tank was corroded. Amount released was 12.1 pounds of benzene and 189 gallons of oil (aka 1404 pounds of hydrocarbon)

Followup: No

Notes: Containment booms and vacuum trucks were utilized to minimize contact with soil. A mechanical engineered clamp was installed to secure the leak. New piping will replace the line that contained the source of the leak. E-mail correspondence with refinery states that (31) 3000 gallon vacuum trucks of oil-water was put back into process (Tank 1024) and 4820 pounds of contaminated soil was shipped to Chemical Waste Management Inc.
Oil: 189.0 gallons
Benzene: 12.1 pounds

Fractionator Overhead Fin Fan
Cause: LDEQ states that a leak was observed in the Fractionator Overhead Fin Fan at the Cat Feed Hydrotreater, releasing compressed flammable gas and hydrogen sulfide.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ. Unit commenced an orderly and safe shutdown in order to stop the leak and make necessary repairs.
Compressed Flammable Gas: 1,791.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 304.0 pounds

Vessel in #7 crystallizer unit
Cause: A small hole and crack were discovered in the shell of the vessel of the #7 crystallizer (E4302), causing the vessel to fail internally and form a hole through the outside shell, allowing the product to escape.

Followup: No

Notes: The vessel was isolated and was being pumped down, depressurized, and the contents were being displaced with Nitrogen. The spilled product was isolated to the concrete slab which leads to the storm water containment area. All product being released was eventually recovered at the sump and diverted to a slop tank. Air monitoring occurred and levels were only detected within the 50x50 blocked off area. Atmospheric Venting. Highly Flammable.
Xylene: 10.8 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

Exchanger E464
Cause: On Monday, April 15, 2013, at approximately 1745 hours, Chalmette Refinery L.L.C. (CRLLC) personnel observed a small visible sheen at Outfall 012 due to small, intermittent droplets of oil, immediate notifications were made to the appropriate agencies and US Environmental deployed containment and absorbent boom to contain and collect the sheen. An investigation determined that the source of the leak was from the lube oil cooler exchanger E464 for natural gas motor K401. The exchanger was immediately isolated at 1815 hours. The root cause of the failure was determined to be chloride stress corrosion cracking and chloride pitting after visual inspection of the pipe. Lube oil was released to the river as a liquid.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Exchanger E464 was immediately isolated once it was determined to be the source of the leak. Trace, residual droplets still in the pipe after the exchanger system was isolated were observed until approximately 1100 hours on April 16, 2013. The root cause of the failure was determined to be chloride stress corrosion cracking and chloride pitting after visual inspection of the pipe. The metallurgy was changed to more chloride resistant material to prevent future recurrence. The company classified this accident as exceeding state police and DEQ RQs, but the amount reportedly released was less than the 1 barrel (42 gallon) RQ. LABB has accessed the 60 day follow up, but not the initial written discharge which was dated 4/21/13.
Lube Oil: 0.8 pounds

discharge pipe from the Flare 1 knockout drum
Cause: On Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at approximately 0145, a Chalmette Refining, L.L.C. (CRLLC) operator noticed odors around the waste water treatment plant (WWTP) shelter. At 0225, CRLLC was notified by St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office of a community complaint regarding a potential odor. The potential odor issue was communicated to relevant supervisors during the 0400 shift change, and operators continued to investigate the cause of odor during initial rounds. At approximately 0600, CRLLC personnel detected and reported potential odors, and intensified the investigation to identify the source and possible root cause. Personnel identified a leak from a pipe near Tank 5502 at 0645 and positively identified the source as a discharge pipe from the Flare 1 knockout drum at 0708. Moderate to heavy rain water and insulation covering the pipe, made it difficult to identify the leak source. The root cause of failure was determined to be highly localized internal pipe corrosion.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The pipe section with the leak was completely isolated at 0745, then vacuum trucks were utilized to clean up the spilled material. An engineered pipe clamp was installed to eliminate the pipe leak. To minimize any further potential community impacts from the odor, firefighting foam and suppressants were applied to the area possibly affected by the leak. Contaminated soil was remediated. In addition to determining root cause and actions regarding the pipe failure CRLCC has identified two actions to be taken to improve odor management and response: 1. Update guidelines for addressing community odor complaints. 2. Refresh personnel involved in this incident on expectations for documenting odor complaint activities/ observations on written shift change reports. The accident did result in offsite impact because ExxonMobil officials released this claims number for any community members affected: 866-752-6339. The facility made a small mention of the bad smell that permeated throughout the metro area in their letter to LDEQ. According to Exxon's April 10th report, "While there was no impact to ambient air quality standards set by the LDEQ and EPA to protect health and environment, the leak was malodorous given the 245 parts per million mercaptan levels of the sulfur compounds. While there was no impact to ambient air quality standards set by the LDEQ and EPA to protect health and the environment, the leak was malodorous given the 245 parts per million mercaptan levels of the sulfur compounds. The May 30th follow up updates this value to 127 parts per million. According to the 30 day follow up on May 30, 2013: On July 9, 2013 - CRLLC has pledged to participate in the Jefferson Parish LEPC meeting.
Hydrogen Sulfide: 4.2 pounds
Benzene: 0.2 pounds

Sulfides: 31.7 pounds