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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Causal Factor: Weather

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source(s) Notes Amount of Release
81957

2005-09-05
None Reported
Cause: Startup activities were due to Hurricane Katrina.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Verbal notifications made at the request of the LA State Police on the date of incident; for monitoring procedures and operations relating to the hurricane. Consult PDF for more information.
81720

2005-08-28
General facility
Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS), LPDES Outfall 006;
Wastewater treatment facility
Cause: Unanticipated bypasses of wastewater treatment facilities occurred due to Hurricane Katrina.

Followup: Yes

Notes:







80409

2005-07-08

Cause: Due to Tropical Storm Cindy, heavy rainfall caused the SWIB to reach capacity, forced to open LPDES Outfall 002 to prevent flooding of the refinery.

Followup: No

Notes: Outfall 006 is permitted under the LPDES Permit to discharge "low contamination potential stormwater runoff." The outfall was monitored as required by the LPDES #LA0003522. Discharge was stopped on 07/09/05.

80320

2005-07-06
Coker, HCU, West Op Ground flares
Cause: Power failures due to weather (Tropical Storm Cindy) caused various releases from Motiva sources; led to total loss of electrical instrument air compressors and the loss of several steam boilers that caused the shutdown of the HCU and RCCU process units. A voltage sag caused the Coker processor to shut down which resulted in a flaring event.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva claims that this was not preventable because of the unforeseeable weather conditions.
Nitrous Oxide: 11.0 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,150.0 pounds
Benzene: 3.0 pounds
Cyclohexane: 3.0 pounds
Butadiene: 26.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 171.0 pounds
Ethylene: 604.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 30,271.0 pounds
Flammable Gas: 39,743.0 pounds
Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds (HRVOCs): 8,212.0 pounds
Propylene: 2,808.0 pounds
76677

2005-02-01

Cause: Norco area experienced heavy rainfall; Motiva was forced to open LPDES Outfall 006 as a result, in order to prevent flooding to the refinery.

Followup: No

Notes:

89388

2006-07-19
West Ops Ground Flare (EPN# 9-84)
Cause: Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit experienced a process upset caused by instrument issues. A severe thunderstorm resulted in lightning strike causing several instrument to malfunction, leading to the upset. This process upset led to flaring at the Motiva West Operations Ground Flare. After mitigating the issues caused by the lightning strike, a malfunctioning level transmitter on the dry gas compressor second stage suction drum caused a compressor shutdown, leading to additional flaring at the Motiva West Operations Ground Flare.

Followup: No

Notes: Process gases were flared at the West Operations Ground Flare until Shell Chemical's GO-1 Process Unit was under control. Flaring was not continuous throughout the start and end dates. The West Ops Ground Flare is owned and operated by Motiva Enterprises, LLC. SCOGI Louisiana Holdings LLC and Shell Chemical LP are the owner and operator, respectively, of the GO-1 process unit.
Benzene: 1.0 pounds

100426

2007-10-23
tank F-493
Cause: Heavy rains caused excessive rainwater weight on roof of tank F-493, causing naphtha to leak out via the roof drains into diked area around the tank. Tank F-509, which shares the containment dike with F-493, had to have its tank dike valve opened to prevent flooding, causing surface water to contact area around F-493 and then escape to the effluent conveyance system. Facility was forced to bypass the stormwater impoundment basin to avoid flooding of the site and the released naphtha then migrated offsite through outfall 006. DEQ interview form states area could not be entered on the first day because of high benzene levels.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations immediately closed the roof drain valve of tank F-493, notified the Norco Site Supervisor, and called out additional personnel to begin containment and clean up. Fence line monitoring was initiated to monitor potential off-site impacts upon identification of material migration off-site. Vacuum trucks and absorbent pads were utilized to recover all standing liquid hydrocarbon following the release. Used waste pads were packaged in 55-gallon drums and disposed of off-site at the Phillips Reclamation Facility. Liquid phase material was recovered via the facility's slop oil system. To prevent recurrence, the roof drain will be up-sized during the next scheduled turnaround to 6" from the current 4" configuration to ensure unhindered migration of rainwater from the roof to the dike area. Tank dike draining procedures were reinforced with operations via shift meetings. The 15 gallons of Naphtha that migrated off site through Outfall 006 was collected in the stilling basin upstream of the St. Charles Parish Bayou Trepagnier Pump Station via absorbent material and pads which were once again packaged in 55-gallon drums and disposed of off-site at Phillips Reclamation Facility. Personnel involved in the incident regarding the migration of 15 gallons of Naphtha off site were led through discussions to avoid future recurrence. The findings of the investigation were dispersed throughout operations via shift meetings and Shift Core Team Leaders.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 32,701.1 pounds
Benzene: 151.1 pounds
Oil: 6,234.1 gallons
96300

2007-05-16

Cause: Motiva's Stormwater Impoundment Basin was already at 8.5 ft from previous rains and exceeded hit capacity of 10 ft after heavy rainfall. Motiva had to open outfall to prevent flooding of the refinery, bypassing stormwater treatment system. During the storm event, employee observed stormwater leaking from refinery ditch through site perimeter levee and into St. Charles Parish stormwater ditch via a nutria burrow. A drain box/manhole box was also leaking stormwater off-site from the ditch. See also report #96302 of the same date.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Nutria burrow repaired, drain box repair will take longer. Analysis of stormwater is included in reports and summarize below: Oil & Grease: 5.7 mg/L Total Organic Carbon: 13.2 mg/L Ph: 7.5 All below permit limits

96302

2007-05-16

Cause: An employee observed stormwater leaking from the Motiva West Stormwater Ditch, through the site perimeter levee, and into the adjacent St. Charles Parish stormwater ditch via a nutria burrow. See DEQ# 96300 of the same date.

Followup: Yes

Notes: The breach in the perimeter levee caused by the nutria burrow was repaired on 05/17/07. The remainder of the system was inspected for any additional issues. During this inspection, it was discovered that a drain box/manhole box was also leaking stormwater off-site from the West Ditch. An inspection was made of the drain box to determine the extent of damage and the required repairs. The north wall of the drain box will require replacement as of 05/21/07.

108282

2007-07-05
LPDES Outfall 006
Cause: Tropical Storm Fay fills Stormwater Impoundment Basin, so a bypass begins causing flow out of refinery from Outfall 0

Followup: No

Notes: Fay follows on heels of lots of rain. SWIB was already quite full prior to storm. Motiva opened the Outfall to prevent the flooding of the refinery.

109413

2007-07-05
None Reported
Cause: Heavy rain results in bypass of stormwater impounding basin

Followup: No

Notes: No information given
120165

2009-12-15
bypass outfall 006
Cause: due to a heavy rainfall, a bypass outfall was opened around the motiva storm water impoundment basin. As a result of this bypass operation, storm water was released

Followup: No

Notes: all that is noted is on 12-16-2009, the bypass outfall 006 was closed

120076

2009-12-12
LPDES Outfall 006
Cause: With heavy rainfall experienced the Refinery Storm Water Impoundment Basin (SWIB) exceeded its maximum capacity level, which resulted in the opening of the LPDES outfall 006. By opening the LPDES waste-water was discharged to Engineers Canal and bypassed the waste-water treatment facility

Followup: Yes

Notes: After heavy rainfall, bypass operations were stopped notes: no exceedence of permit limits occurred and all required notifications were made. However, there is only a refinery report filed for this incident...a LDEQ report was not attached

119925

2009-12-08
LPDES outfall 006
sewer lift station
Cause: There was a storm that occurred in the NORCO area resulting in heavy rainfall . As a result of the rainfall, the Refinery Stormwater Impoundment Basin (SWIB) exceeded its maximum capacity level of 10 feet. The LPDES Outfall 006 was forced to be open and allow bypass of wastewater. 2hrs before bypass event ended,there was a failure in the sewer lift station causing sanitary sewage to mix with the bypass wastewater.

Followup: Yes

Notes: bypass was stopped and all required notifications were made

Sewage: 65.0 gallons
117941

2009-09-12
from outfall 006
Cause: it was notified to LDEQ that an emergency discharge of stormwater through outfall 006 occured because of heavy rain

Followup: No

Notes: there was no information provided as to what remedial steps were taken after the discharge of storm water occurred.

113788

2009-03-27
LPDES outfall 006
Cause: Heavy rainfall was experienced in the Norco area causing the Refinery storm water impoundment basin (SWIB) to rapidly fill and subsequently exceed its maximum capacity level. As a result, the LPDES outfall 006 had to be opened and the discharge was allowed to bypass the refinery waste water treatment system

Followup: Yes

Notes: After normal operating procedures were restored, and capacity remained in the SWIB all bypass operations were stopped.

112842

2009-02-14
LPDES outfall 006
Cause: On February 13, 2009 a rain event occurred in the NORCO area causing the SWIB to fill rapidly in a short period of time. After the SWIB exceeded its capacity level, the LPDES Outfall 006 was opened. Opening of the LPDES outfall 006 allowed the discharge to enter Engineers canal and bypass entering the waste water treatment facility

Followup: Yes

Notes: After the rain event was over, bypass operations were stopped on February 15,2009.

111719

2009-01-04
LPDES outfall 006
Cause: Due to a storm, a severe rain incident occurred that resulted in the Refinery Storm Water Impoundment Basin (SWIB) exceeding its maximum capacity level to hold waste water. As a result, the LPDES Outfall 006 was open to release waste-water and allow it to bypass entering the waste-water treatment facility

Followup: Yes

Notes: After the bypass was completed and SWIB was not exceeding its maximum capacity level, all bypass operations were stopped. Sample collection and analysis was performed as well

125993

2010-08-29
Outfall 006 (WWTP)
Cause: Report states that there was "unusually heavy rainfall which exceeded the capacity of the facility WWTP requiring discharge through the LA0003522 permitted Outfall 006 for storm water." Testing was performed throughout the release and no discharge parameters were exceeded.

Followup: No

Notes: No information given.

124245

2010-06-16
FLARE: DHT Unit; OL-5 Flare (FE-101)
Cause: Power outage from inclement weather caused a compressor on Motiva's Diesel Hydrotreater Unit (DHT) to trip releasing sulfur dioxide from the OL-5 Flare at Shell Chemical. Shared flaring incident with SHELL CHEMICAL LP.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Report states that incident was BRQ but permit limit for SO2 was exceeded. Entergy was called to make repairs and "operations took corrective actions to safely return unit to normal conditions and minimize flaring."
Sulfur Dioxide: 91.8 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 8.8 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 1.6 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 2.5 
Particulate Matter: 0.3 pounds
121499

2010-02-12
Stormwater Outfall 006
Cause: HEAVY RAINS. Caused Refinery Stormwater Impoundment Basin (SWIB) to exceed capacity, forcing a bypass "to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the SWIB levee." Caused oil sheen upstream of St. Charles Parish's Bayou Trepagnier Pump Station. Refinery letter states that less than 1 gallon of oil was released. SECONDARY CAUSE: Equipment Design - impoundment basin capacity was insufficient for heavy rainfall.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Refinery letter states that no reportable quantities were exceeded, but incident was an "unauthorized discharge." Material removed from vicinity of parish pumping station via absorbent pads; will install additional absorbent booms in the outfall and increase surveillance of the outfall during future discharges.

120618

2010-01-08
Berth 4 [sewer sump]; Outfall 002
Cause: COLD WEATHER. Sewer sump on Berth 4 overflowed, spilled approximately 5 gal of sewage/potable water into the Mississippi through LPDES Outfall 002 due to freezing conditions that froze discharge pipe downstream.

Followup: No

Notes: BRQ. Refinery letter states that "final calculations confirm that no reportable quantities were exceeded." Piping not damaged, blockage thawed naturally.

133984

2011-09-03
Storm Water Impoundment
Cause: On 9/3/11 the Norco area experienced heavy trains from Tropical Storm Lee. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment and subsequent discharge through LPDES Outfall 002. However, as the heavy rains continued, the RWTC (consisting of the Storm Water Impoundment Basin and Aeration Basic) reached maximum capacity levels and Motiva opened LPDES Outfall 006 and 0805 to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB for overtopping of the SWIB retaining levee. Outfall 006 serves as the bypass outfall for the RWTS and is used to prevent/reduce flooding of the refinery during extreme rainfall events. Outfall 006 discharges to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Pontchartrain via a flood control structure through the St. Charles Parish Hurricane Protection Levee. Motiva's normal operating procedures call for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility. All required sample collection and analysis required by LPDES Permit LA00035222 were conducted in conjunction with the opening of Outfall 006. Emergency bypass operations were stopped at 12 pm on 12/5/11. No permit limits were exceeded and visual inspection showed no signs of adverse water quality of the storm water discharge during this bypass. The facility was being properly operated and maintained at the time of the incident and all required notifications were made.

Followup: No

Notes: Rain water released to Outfall 006

145159

2012-12-05
Spillway on northern side of SWIB
Cause: On December 5, 2012 the Norco area experienced extremely heavy rains from a slow moving thunderstorm. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment and subsequent discharge through LPDES Outfall 002. However, the system storage capacity was reduced due to the amount of heavy rainfall that had occurred in such a short time frame; as the heavy rains continued, the RWTS (consisting of the Storm Water Impoundment Basin and Aeration Basin) reached maximum capacity levels. In accordance with the procedures outline in the LPDES permit application, Motiva opened the spillway, which is located on the northern side of SWIB, at 22:06 to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the retaining levee.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva's normal operating procedures call for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

143044

2012-09-17
SWIB spillway
Cause: The unanticipated bypass of the Motiva wastewater treatment facility at the Storm Water Impoundment Basin (SWIB) spillway was caused by thunderstorms and associated heavy rainfall.

Followup: No

Notes: Norco experience extremely heavy rains from a slow moving thunderstorm. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment and subsequent discharge through LPDES Outfall 002. However, the system storage capacity was reduced due to rainfall that had occurred on preceding days and as the heavy rains continued, the RWTS (consisting of the Storm Water Impoundment Basin and Aeration Basin) reached maximum capacity levels. Motiva opened the spillway, which is located on the northern side of the SWIB, to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the retaining levee. The spillway discharges to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Ponchartrain via a flood control structure through the St. Charles Paris Hurricane Protection Levee. Permit levels were not exceeded and a visual inspection showed no signs of adverse water quality of the storm water discharge during the bypass. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

142652

2012-09-04
F-45 outlet piping
Cause: Fire caused by a release of hydrogen to the atmosphere due to a rupture of the outlet piping of F-45, the Hydrogen Plant furnace. The failure of the outlet piping of F-45 was as a result of rapid quenching during Hurricane Isaac.

Followup: No

Notes: Operations immediately implemented an emergency shutdown in order to isolate the leak and contain the fire. The unit is down for repairs until a formal investigation can be completed to pinpoint the root cause of the piping failure. Motiva Enterprises, LLC-Norco Refinery states a preliminary follow-up report was submitted on September 12, 2012. LABB does not have access to this report at this time. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

142429

2012-08-28
multiple
Cause: Motiva Enterprises LLC, Norco Refinery is providing a preliminary report for a verbal notification on August 28, 2012 at 1854 hours of a release of 1,3 butadiene, benzene, carbon dioxide, ethylene, flammable gas, hexane, methane, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, propylene and sulfur dioxide from flaring and potential releases to atmosphere from the unexpected shutdown and restart of the site before and during inclement weather due to landfall of Hurricane Isaac. On August 28, 2012, Shell Chemical Norco Site operation was adversely affected by inclement weather due to the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. Several of Shell's Units were un-expectantly shutdown due to safety concerns associated with operating in the weather conditions brought on by the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. All materials were released lo the atmosphere from the associated flare's, and dispersed naturally.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Recovery and preparations for a safe re-start of the site is ongoing (Notification on September 4th). Data gathering to perform calculations and investigation are ongoing. Motiva will provide an update within 60 days as required by LAC 33:1 3925.A.3. The updates were each a word for word copy of the original written notification letter from Motiva. There were also duplicate letters printed on the Shell Chemical letterhead that contained all of the same details from the Motiva reports. At this time (May 22 2013) LDEQ is still processing the update that they claim will have final calculations from their investigation. February 20, 2013 is the most recent follow-up that LABB was able to find (Update May 2013 - we requested the final summary report from LDEQ and received this final report that was published April 25th, 2013). The final report lists completely different pollutants than the list that was being reported in prior written notifications. These inconsistencies are not addressed in the report. Final summary report from Shell chemical 4/25/2013: Shell Chemical operations look the necessary steps to safely shut units down and minimize emissions resulting from the weather associated with Hurricane Isaac. Operations assessed damages, made repairs to equipment and safely return process units to normal operating conditions. RCCU at Motiva Enterprises (from final summary letter dated april 25 2012) On August 29, 2012, Motiva's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) initiated a shutdown of the process unit due to inclement weather associated with Hurricane Isaac making landfall. During this time, the RCCU experienced an unexpected loss of flare pilot indication at the RCCU Elevated Flare, and a loss of pilot indication on the RCCU CO Heater due to hurricane force winds. An inadvertent catalyst leak developed during this time on level indicator Ll1548. Subsequently, the pH control on the circulation water for the RCCU Flue Gas Scrubber was lost at this time. The reportable quantities for volatile organic compounds and particulate matter were exceeded during this time. Additional details on reportable quantity and permit limit exceedences are listed in the following tables of this report. (also from April 25th report) Shell Chemical Venting to Motiva West Operations Ground Flare On August 29, 2012, Shell Chemical's G0-1 Process Unit flared at Motiva's West Operations Ground Flare due to shutdown and startup activities due to adverse weather conditions associated with the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. Details of the flaring by Shell Chemical are addressed in a separate letter from Shell. A total of the VOCs is given, but report states certain VOCs (carbon dioxide, ethylene, flammable gas, methane, propylene) that do not have breakdown of individual amounts released anywhere. This event did not result in an emergency condition. There were no fatalities, injuries or road closures. Planning and review meetings were held, learning's will be executed in future weather related occurrences as appropriate.
Butadiene: 1,791.4 pounds
Toluene: 1,207.7 pounds
Particulate Matter: 4,123.2 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 119,184.7 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 33,102.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 54,131.9 pounds
Hexane: 566.8 pounds
Benzene: 1,993.6 pounds
1,3-Butadiene: 1,136.4 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 153.8 pounds
Xylene: 615.0 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 21,872.6 pounds
142415

2012-08-28
Outfall 006
Cause: Bypass occurred at the SWIB at outfall 006 due to rainfall caused by Hurricane Isaac. The unanticipated bypass incident at the Storm Water Impoundment Basin spillway and permitted Outfall 006 was due to an upset condition and was cuased by thunderstorms and associated heavy rainfall from Hurricane Isaac.

Followup: No

Notes: An unknown amount of rainwater was bypassed. The facility reported that all samples were collected as required by their permit and visual inspections showed no signs of adverse water quality of the storm water discharge during the bypass event. Extremely heavy rains from Hurricane Isaac were experienced in the Norco area. Site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System for treatment and subsequent discharge. The system storage capacity was reduced due to rainfall and the heavy rains continuing, the RWTS reached maximum capacity levels. Motiva opened the spillway to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from over-topping of the retaining levee. Heavy rainfall due to Hurricane Isaac continued requiring the opening of permitted outfall. The spill way serves as the protection structure for the SWIB and is used to prevent and reduce flooing of the refinery during extreme rainfall events. The spillway discharges to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Pontchartrain via a flood control structure through the St. Charles Parish Hurricane Protection Levee. Although tests confirmed the discharged stormwater was within LPDES permit limits, there may be some pollution from process area stormwater going untreated directly to outfall canal. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

142166

2012-08-18
SWIB spillway
Cause: The facility opened the SWIB spillway to prevent flooding of the refinery due to extremely heavy rainfall. The unanticipated bypass of the Motiva wastewater treatment facility at the Storm Water Impoundment Basin (SWIB) spillway was due to an upset condition and was caused by thunderstorms and associated heavy rainfall. The Norco area experienced extremely heavy rains from a slow moving thunderstorm. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and routed it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment and subsequent discharge. However, the system storage capacity was reduced due to rainfall that had occurred on preceding days and as the heavy rains continued, the RWTS (consisting of the Storm Water Impoundment Basin and Aeration Basin) reached maximum capacity levels. In accordance to outlined procedures, Motiva opened the spillway, which is located on the northern side of SWIB, to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the retaining levee.

Followup: No

Notes: The spillway serves as the protection structure for the SWIB and is used to prevent/reduce flooding of the refinery during extreme rainfall events. The spillway discharges to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Ponchartrain via a flood control structure through the St. Charles Parish Hurricane Protection Levee. Motiva's normal operating procedures call for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility. Emergency bypass operations were stopped on August 21, 2012. The facility was being properly operated and maintained at the time of the incident and all required notifications were made. No mention of any pounds or gallons.

139564

2012-05-08
OL-5 Elevated Flare, FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare, FG-101 (EPN 7-84)
RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91)
RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91); OL-5 Elevated Flare, FE-101 (EPN 6-84); OL-5 Ground Flare, FG-101 (EPN 7-84)
Cause: On May 8, 2012, the Motiva Enterprise's Residual Catalytic Cracking Unit (RCCU) was struck by lightning during a heavy rainstorm event resulting in an unforeseen shutdown of the RCCU CO Heater and Flue Gas Scrubber (EPN 2-91). Consequently, an Instrument Protective Function (IPF) associated with the CO Heater's force draft fans automatically tripped the system's main fuel gas burners to safely secure the heater as per design. Motiva operations then worked to stablize the RCCU process unit and assess the damages to the RCCU CO Heater resulting from the lightning strike. The causal analysis generated from the investigation of this incident revealed simultaneous alarms and IPF shutdowns for multiple pieces of equipment associated with the RCCU CO Heater during the time of the incident. A time stamp taken from the RCCU alarm summary noted that several pieces of equipment simultaneously shutdown at 5/8/2012 17:24:34. The pieces of equipment affected from this incident are listed below: CO Heater Forced Draft Fan Electric; CO Heater Forced Draft Fan Turbine; CO Heater Pilot Gas; RCCU Refrigeration Compressor Lube Oil; RCCU Main Air Blower Flow to Fluffing Rings; RCCU Cooling Water Pump Lube Oil Systems. The data proved that the signals initiating the multiple trips were not generated by the processes themselves, but by a non-process related influence. The investigation team determined that a bolt of lightning struck somewhere in close proximity of the junction boxes for the different pieces of equipment near the RCCU CO Heater. Consequently, this caused an inadvertent energy pulse to either stop current on the analog systems, or provide enough voltage to energize the trip signal and shutdown the equipment listed above. On May 8, 2012, Shell Chemical's OL-5 Process Unit experienced an unexpected shutdown of the OL-5 Process Gas Compressor (PGC) due to weather conditions which led to flaring at the OL-5 Elevated and Ground Flares. Weather conditions in the area caused issues in a Motiva Unit leading to a curtailment of the sites steam supply. As per site load shedding policies OL-5 was instructed to shut down the PGC which is a consumer of steam.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Motiva: The RCCU initiated a unit shutdown in a controlled manner following all operating and safety procedures in order to minimize excess emissions to the atmosphere. As part of the initial shutdown procedure, operating rates were reduced significantly leading up the unit showdown. Simultaneously, a maintenance work plan was developed and executed in a effort to re-establish normal operations of the RCCU CO Heater. At this time electrical inspectors were called in to visually inspect the associated junction boxes for this shutdown system. Additionally, enhanced monitoring of the shutdown system was performed to assure that no damage had occurred as a result of the lightning strike. Once the maintenance work was complete, the RCCU CO Heater was returned to service. Operations then worked to stabilize the CO Heater operations, and began to reverse the shutdown process following all operating and safety procedures. Motiva completed IPF checks to confirm that the instrument protective functions for this system are functioning as needed. Shell Chemical LP.-East: Furnaces in OL-5 were taken off feed after the PGC was shutdown to minimize flaring. The OL-5 process unit was secured until the steam supply was restored to normal conditions to allow for a safe restart of the PGC. In their original final report, Shell Chemical LP - East Site indicated that the permit level for benzene was exceeded; they sent a corrected final report on August 9, 2012 explaining that the permit level for benzene was not exceeded as indicated in the earlier report. As seen on first table Date/Time: 5/8/12 17:25 - 5/9/12 17:25 for section V.a. carbon monoxide was released about reportable quantities. In addition to carbon monoxide being above reportable quantity, benzene was as well although it was not reported as such. The reportable quantity for benzene is 10 lbs with the total amount of benzene being released from Shell Chemical LP - East Site being 967.9 lbs. The LDEQ sent out an emergency responder, Nicole Hardy, who took atmospheric samples from May 8, 2012 at 17:40 to 5/9/12 at 23:30 for a total of 1 day, 5 hours and 50 minutes; all of the samples came back as being below the Permissible Exposure Limits. Although they do not report the pollutant as exceeding reportable quantity - the facility released quantities that exceeded reportable quantities for benzene during the 2 days of this event. The initial verbal notification was made on May 8, 2012. There was an initial written notification (follow up report to verbal notification) made by both Shell chemical and Motiva on July 3, 2012. The first written notification was not made in a timely manner as per state regulations. Since the July 3rd report was their first written notification following the initial verbal notification, therefore they missed the 7 day deadline to make written notification (the deadline would have been May 15, 2013; it would be 48 days late as it was written 55 days after the accident). Another follow up report termed the "final release report" was made by both Shell chemical and Motiva on August 2, 2012. A final follow up report termed the "corrected final release report" was made by by Shell chemical on August 9, 2012 - there was no corrected final report made by Motiva.
Toluene: 681.6 pounds
Ethylbenzene: 88.0 pounds
Benzene: 967.9 pounds
Butadiene: 1,032.7 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 24,400.4 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,369.0 pounds
Particulate Matter: 2,168.9 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide: 12,443.1 pounds
Carbon Monoxide: 605,229.1 pounds
Xylene: 351.8 pounds





138205

2012-03-23
Storm Water Impoundment Basin
Cause: A heavy rain event caused the system to become overburdened and water was bypassed to prevent flooding to the refinery.

Followup: No

Notes: There were no remedial actions taken. The release was part of normal operating procedures when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility.

152855

2013-12-14
RCCU Flare (EPN 8-84)
RCCU Flare (EPN 8-84)
Cause: On December 14, 2013, the three-hour rolling average for the amount of hydrogen sulfide to the Residual Catalytic Cracking Unity (RCCU) Flare exceeded its 162 ppm limit. The hydrogen sulfide to the RCCU Flare continued to increase exceeding the monitoring capabilities of the flare's hydrogen sulfide analyzer. As a result, Operations monitored the hydrogen sulfide concentrations by sampling the flare header. Hydrogen sulfide concentrations fluctuated as troubleshooting occurred. Several contributing factors were identified. One of these factors was that the cold weather was affecting some of the valve bodies by allowing small quantities of H2S to leak through a close valve during lower ambient temperatures. In addition, it was found that the RCCU flare knock out drum and the maintenance drop out drum were contaminated with H2S as a result of recent shutdown activities.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Immediately, operations began a systematic search for the sources of H2S routed to the flare. This search identified all potential H2S intrusion points within the RCCU and RGHT Units, and prioritized those most likely contributing to the elevated H2S in the Flare system. Next, they flushed the RCCU elevated flare knock out drum and the maintenance drop out drum. Unit rate increases were delayed and unit feed rates were maintained during the duration of the incident. To prevent recurrences, the refinery will evaluate the need to upgrade/replace additional RV and HIC valves that are routed to the RCCU Elevated Flare header in order to prevent leakage during cold weather. Additionally, it will evaluate the need to apply weather shields and/or steam lances to valves affected by cold weather. Note: the 60-day report states: "Data gathering and calculations confirm no reportable quantities were exceeded during the release. However, the maximum pound per hour permit limit for sulfur dioxide was exceeded during this incident," and "The hydrogen sulfide to the the RCCU Flare exceeded the monitoring capabilities of the flare's hydrogen sulfide analyzer." Hence, the amount of hydrogen sulfide released (and not oxidized to SO2) is unknown.
Carbon Monoxide: 107.5 pounds
Nitric Oxide: 19.8 pounds
Particulate Matter: 3.7 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide: 25.8 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 19.7 pounds

148623

2013-05-10
Refinery Wastewater Treatment System
Cause: On May 10, an unanticipated bypass incident at the Storm Water Impoundment Basin (SWIB) was due to an upset condition caused by heavy rainfalls associated with a series of thunderstorms. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it to the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment. However, the system storage capacity was reduced due to the amount of heavy rainfall that had occurred in such a short time frame. Motiva opened the spillway to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the retaining levee. The spillway discharges to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Pontchartrain.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva's normal operating procedures cal for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility. All required sample collection and analysis were conducted in conjunction with the opening of the spillway. Limits were not exceeded and visual inspection showed no signs of adverse water quality of the storm water discharge.

145845

2013-01-10
Spillway on Northern side of SWIB
Cause: On January 10, 2013, the Norco area experienced extremely heavy rains from a slow moving thunderstorm. The site was initially able to contain the rainfall associated with this event and route it the Refinery Wasterwater Treatment System (RWTS) for treatment and subsequent discharge through LPDES Outfall 002. However, the system storage capacity was reduced due to the amount of heavy rainfall that had occurred in such a short time frame and the rainfall events that had occurred on days preceding January 10, 2013; as the heavy rains continued, the RWTS (consisting of the Storm Water Impoundment Basin and Aeration Basin) reached maximum capacity levels. In accordance with the procedures outlined in the LPDES permit application, Motiva opened the spillway, which is located on the northern side of the SWIB, at 14:35 to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the SWIB from overtopping of the retaining levee. The spill was discharged until approximately 3:00 PM on January 12, 2013 into Engineers Canal which then flows into Lake Ponchartrain. Sampling and visual observations were conducted in conjunction with opening the spillway, no signs of adverse water quality of the storm water discharge during this bypass.

Followup: No

Notes: As stated above, Motiva's normal operating procedures call for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternatives to prevent flooding of the facility. According to the follow up letter effluent limits established in the permit for this bypass procedure were not exceeded and there were no visual signs of adverse water impact.

156388

2014-06-01
Refinery Wastewater Treatment System Emergency Spillway Structure
Cause: On 6/1/2014, heavy rains from a series of thunderstorms in the Norco area overwhelmed the Refinery Wastewater Treatment System (RWTS). The heavy rain that occurred in the days prior reduced the systems storage capacity. When the RWTS reached capacity, in accordance with procedures in the LPDES permit application, Motiva opened the RWTS emergency spillway to prevent flooding of the refinery and damage to the Storm Water Impoundment Basin from overtopping the retaining levee. Stormwater bypassed the RWTS and was discharged to Engineer's Canal and then to Lake Ponchartrain via a flood control structure through the St. Charles Parish Hurricane Protection Levee.

Followup: No

Notes: Motiva's normal operating procedures call for the initiation of bypass operations when no capacity remains in the RWTS and a bypass is the only alternative to prevent flooding of the facility. Sample collection and analysis required by LPDES Permit LA0003522 were conducted in conjunction with the opening of the spillway. Emergency bypass operations were stopped at 0500 on June 2, 2014.