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Chalmette Refining (1376), Chalmette

Causal Factor: Instrument Failure

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

Hydrocracker Light Ends Plant Butane Splitter Tower & LEP Depropanizer Tower Bottoms Flow Control Valve 50FC060
Cause: (1) 0600 hrs: Hydrocracker Light Ends Plant (LEP) Butane Splitter Tower began to overpressure because LEP Depropanizer Tower Bottoms Flow Control Valve (50FC060) had failed in the open position, letting propane to exit to the Butane Splitter. (2) 1700 hrs: Butane Splitter again began to overpressure due to the presence of propane. The level indication on the level instrument was detecting a false reading.

Followup: No

Notes: Letter speaks of two incidents on same day at 0600 hrs and 1700 hrs but attached report shows three incidents: (1) 4:05 a.m. lasting 3h 42m; (2) 3:15 p.m. lasting 41m; (3) 4:30 p.m. lasting 1h 25m. Amounts of compounds are only given in totals for all 3incidents. This incident is related to incident # 76355. LDEQ states that it is also related to incident # 76395.
Carbon Monoxide: 314.7 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 46.3 pounds
Hydrocarbon: 199.4 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 0.1 pounds
Nitric Oxide: 77.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 5.8 pounds

No information given
Number 2 Flare -- Pressure Safety Valve (PSV) on Fuel Drum for Number 10 Boiler
Cause: From the verbal report: False pressure indicator on tower, caused relief value to open and gases to mix.

Followup: No

Compressed Flammable Gas: 496.0 pounds

Hydrocarbon: 856.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 0.2 pounds


#1 Flare AE-AOA-05-0109 EPN 28
#2 Flare - AE-AOA-05-0109 EPN 29
Cause: WGCs K-402 and 406 tripped due to an instrument air leak on the K-402 control panel. Leak was fixed and WCGs turned back on

Followup: No

Notes: Investigation ongoing.
Nitrogen Oxide: 61.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 19,224.0 pounds

#2 Flare - AE-AOA-05-0109 EPN 29
Cause: pressure safety valve on the F-402 bOiler fuel gas drum was found intermittently lifting fuel gas to the flare. The pressure indicator was out of calibration and reading low. The false readings in fuel pressure resulted in the PSV lifting to the flare.

Followup: No

Notes: pressure controller set pressure point was reduced. The pressure control indicator will be calibrated during the next turnaround (Feb. 2007)
Nitrogen Dioxide: 592.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 66.0 pounds

#1 Flare - AE-AOA-05-0109 EPN 28
Cause: Flooding in the Crude 2 Gas Oil Tower caused by a false reading from a level controller (74LC503). Ultimately lead to backflush and overpressure.

Followup: No

Notes: Flushing medium valve was reopened. Process adjustments were made to restore product quality for Crude 2 to the CFHT. Distillate quench was added to cool down the FCCU regeneration bed temperature.
Sulfur Dioxide: 800.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 36.0 pounds

Cause: faulty level indications device. dehex tower leaked natural gas into tank 2 while the dehex tower was operating in total reflux mode due to upstream unit outages.

Followup: No

Notes: Main block valve to Tank 2 was blocked in and the Dehex bottoms line was double blocked
Benzene: 30.0 pounds
Compressed Flammable Gas: 15,742.0 pounds

AE-AOA-05-0109 EPN 46
Cause: loss of instrument air pressure resulting in upset and shutdown of multiple process units within the refinery

Followup: No

Notes: Process adjustments were made to restore refinery instrument air and steam systems. Process units were stabilized, ending the incident.
Hydrogen Sulfide: 10.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 7,184.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 548.0 pounds
Nitrogen Dioxide: 61.0 pounds

Thermal Oxidizer at SRU Train 1
Cause: tail gas analyzer malfunctioned

Followup: No

Notes: Malfunctioning analyzer was repaired
Sulfur Dioxide: 706.0 pounds

No information given
Cause: #1 prefract loss feed to tower, tower over pressured released SO2

Followup: No

Notes: No information given


#1 Flare
Cause: Malfunctioning FCC PGC seal oil level controller. I/E was requested. While I/E's were making adj. the compressor shutdown and excess gas was sent to #1 flare.

Followup: No

Notes: Compressor was restarted ending the flaring. The seal oil level control was replaced.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,979.0 pounds


Emergency Flare System
South Flare
Cause: LPG recovery compressor shut down on a high interstage level due to a faulty level indicator

Followup: No

Notes: Temporary modifications made to LPG interstage level bridle. A new LPG Interstage level indication and shut down system has been designed and the parts have been ordered.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,815.0 pounds

Sulfur Dioxide: 798.0 pounds

No information given
Cause: false reading from DGA flow controller leads to shutdown of Waste Gas System Compressor K-400

Followup: No

Notes: CRLLC will initiate a routine maintenance check of the DGA flow controller transmitter and communicate the need for maintenance to the process personnel and instrument techs.
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,735.0 pounds
No LDEQ Reported

# 2 Crude Unit
Cause: #2 prefactionator tower bottom level controller malfunctioned which resulted in venting to the #2 flare

Followup: No



Sulfur Recovery unit THOX stack
Cause: the air demand analyzer became plugged and a breaker was switched off

Followup: No

Notes: Issued a work order to investigate equipment. Unable to confirm if workers bumped the breaker. Reported as a Tail Gas Incident. Letter of 10/24 includes checks to the DoJ and LDEQ as paymt of penalty for incident.
Sulfur Dioxide: 5,454.0 pounds

Cause: the level controller on the slurry pump around system malfunction and the FCC fractionator overpressured

Followup: No

Notes: Corrected the level indicator
Sulfur Dioxide: 734.0 pounds

flare #2
Cause: Level indicator in the Light Ends Plant over head had malfunctioned. Causing the #3 Pretreater and Hydrocracker (HCU) 1st Stage Stripper overhead off gas flow to suddenly decrease. This caused the pressure to increase and release emissions through flaring (#2).

Followup: No

Notes: Lowered drum level and stablizied the HCU and PT 3. Repaired indicator by refilling leg with glycerin.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,172.0 pounds

coker #2 coke pit and fire lanes
Cause: Failure of the coker fines lane pump discharge check valve resulting from accumulated coke fines, which allowed oil from the coker cutting water tank to back flow into the fines lane. Once the oil came in contact with the hot coke in the pit, a fire resulted.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Fire was extinguished with foam. Secondary check valve was installed and a cautionary procedure was developed and implemented.
Sulfur Dioxide: 3,569.0 pounds

Tank D6360
Cause: The two nitrogen regulators on the fixed roof of asphalt tank D6360 were bad, keeping the tank pressurized even during offloading. This caused the tank to vent steamy emissions from multiple vents on the fixed roof.

Followup: No

Notes: Air monitoring at the site and around the perimiter was consistently conducted during the incident, revealing only low levels of VOCs on the levee and paying particular attention to Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbon. The tank was offloaded into three barges, and the tank was cooled to reduce vapors. Upon inspection, the vents appeared to be working properly, and the nitrogen regulator was later found to be faulty. The crew reduced the nitrogen input, relieved the pressure of the tank, and closed the vents to stop emissions. An all-clear was then called, and the nitrogen regulators were to be repaired. No road closures, fires, injuries, or fatalities resulted from this incident, and it was noted that no reportable quantities should have been exceeded. A site visit did not occur for 3 days and photos were taken from the cabin of the car.


FGM compressor, #1 Flare
Cause: On Sunday, May 12, 2013, at approximately 19:25 hours, the flare gas management (FGM) compressors tripped on a high inlet separator drum liquid level which resulted in material being routed to the #1 Flare. An investigation revealed the liquid level instrumentation that controls the levels in the inlet separator drum had malfunctioned causing the liquid level control valve to close and the liquid level to rise. This occurred when the level instrument was reading at lower than the setpoint value and the valve closed to raise the liquid level although the level was already rising but could not be seen by the operator board. The computer logic is designed to shut down the flare gas compressors during high level liquid alarms which were detected by a triplicated high level system which is independent of the liquid level that controls the control valve to prevent damaging the equipment.


Notes: Steps were taken to minimize emissions as much as possible and return the FGM compressors to normal operation. The inlet separator drum level instrumentation was repaired and is now operating normally. Additional systems are being evaluated which would provide backup indicators of conditions that would fill the inlet separator drum.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,049.0 pounds

cooling tower
Cause: On Saturday, March 11, 2013 at approximately 10:00 hours, elevated benzene concentrations were detected in the inlet to the cooling tower. After conducting a series of exchanger testing to determine the source, the site identified an exchanged which had the water side blocked in and filled with benzene product material. The inlet and outlet block valves on the product side were immediately closed.

Followup: No

Notes: The inlet and outlet block valves on the product side of the exchanger were immediately blocked in to eliminate the benzene source from the cooling tower.
Benzene: 113.0 pounds