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Valero (1238), Meraux

Causal Factor: No Information Given

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

Waste Water Treatment Plant
Cause: No Information Given - Odor

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: According to the Murphy report and the LDEQ report, Murphy had a slight odor estimated to be butanol #2 from the waste water treatment plant. At the same time there was a strong odor from a nearby marsh fire. LDEQ states that neither odor is actionable with regard to Murphy. The marsh fire was investigated and no responsible party could be found


None Reported
Cause: No Information Given

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: There is no corresponding report from Murphy. The LDEQ report states, No cause could be found for this incident. There was no record in the shift foreman's log book of a release to the flare at this time. No other information is provided

None Reported
Cause: No Information Given - Odor

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: There is no corresponding report from Murphy. The LDEQ report states, There was an upset at the Murphy wastewater treatment plant. This released an oily biomass smell that Matt Dobbins estimated to be about a 3 on a butanol scale. The odor wasfound by operating personnel and adjustments were made which eliminated the odors. There were no violations at the water outfall for the plant. No other information is provide

South roof drain of Tank 300-2
Cause: No Information Given - Leak

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This was a self report from Murphy to LDEQ regarding a crude oil leak to the ground north of Tank 300-2. the leak was contained inside the diked secondary containment. Steps were taken immediately to block in the roof drain. There was no visible oil on the roof. Murphy Oil recovered the free liquids with vacuum trucks. Soil with signs of visual contamination were scraped from the ground and will be disposed of at an offsite landfill. At the time of this report, Murphy was evaluating the incident toermine how best to repair the roof drain.
Crude Oil: 840.0 gallons
Benzene: 1.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds: 500.0 pounds

FLARE- Hydrocracker and #3 SRU Startup
Cause: No Information Given

Followup: Yes

Notes: This incident was under investigation as was the root cause on 11/7/2008 when Murphy notified LDEQ of said incident. There were no follow-up letters included for December 2008 in the information the Bucket Brigade received.
Sulfur Dioxide: 14,983.0 pounds

FLARE - #2 FCCU Wet Gas Compressor
Cause: No Information Given

Followup: Yes

Notes: Note that at the date of this report - 11/10/08, the incident was still under investigation and that includes a root cause analysis.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,575.0 pounds

Floor of Tank 55-7
Cause: No Information Given - Leak

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: This was a self report from Murphy to LDEQ regarding a gasoline leak to the ground from the floor of Tank 55-7. The leak was discovered at 0815 hours on 9/20/2008. Approximately 2 barrels were recovered by vacuum truck. The leak was contained inside thediked secondary containment. Steps were taken immediately to lower the roof legs in the floating roof of the tank and to transfer product from the tank so that it could be emptied. Water was pumped into the tank to displace the gasoline on the bottomgns of visual contamination has been removed for proper disposal. There was no impact to waterways.
Gasoline: 168.0 gallons
Benzene: 10.0 pounds
Volatile Organic Compounds: 16.0 pounds

Meraux Canal

Followup: No

Notes: Company letter missing. Spill of unknown oil from facility causing sheen on water. Earlier that day, a 300 barrel spill of crude oil was discovered at Tank 250-1 which is next to the Meraux Canal (Incident 09-4246). However, Murphy personnel stated that the spill was completely contained and could not be the course of the sheen.
Oil Sheen: 42.0 gallons

No Information Given

Followup: No

Notes: No information given.


None Reported
Cause: Flaring events were observed. Log of complaints about sulfur dioxide emissions from Murphy Oil and ExxonMobil in particular as well as St. bernard Parish in General.


Notes: Complainant observed a number of flaring events between Aug 29-Sept 19, 2012 and submitted a log of events to the DEQ requesting infor regarding the events. None of the events in question rose to the level of "Area of Concern". This information was forwarded on to the complainant. Suggested to the complainant that for a more direct and quicker response to consider bringing up her questions/comments/concerns during the monthly public meetings held by Murphy.

No Information Given
Cause: Strong odors were reported by Murphy Oil refinery to LDEQ from a ditch along St. Bernard Hwy between the refinery and the terminal. Aprrox 10 gallons of a diesel like material was recovered with a vacuum truck. No leaks underground were detected.

Followup: No

Notes: LDEQ included, but there was no initial Refinery Letter. Murphy Oil states that a securtiy guard would monitor each half hour to see if there were any signs of leakage. The right lane of the street was temporarily blocked. No injuries occurred and all soil that was exposed to the substance was removed from the area and set aside for testing. The excess contaminated soil will be disposed of in the appopriate manner once analysis is completed.
Diesel Fuel: 10.0 gallons

None Reported
Cause: Odor was detected on the north side on the facility on 5/23/12. A tour of the facility revealed that some odor appeared to be coming from the refinery water treatment plant where operational variables were being adjusted to try to better the odor.


Notes: Citizen Complaint: Made 5/18/2011 at 9:32 am. Described an odor in air that affected nasal passages and caused coughing. This particular odor seems to be present in the beginning of the processing. LDEQ led an inspection at the refinery on 5/17/11 and 5/19/11 where no odors were detected. An additional surveillance of the area was conducted on 5/23/11 and an odor was detected on the north side of the facility. No refinery operational issues were recorded for 5/18/11 that would indicate that the refinery was the source of the odor that a citizen complaint was about. 5/23/11 tour of the facility showed that there was no unusual maintenance or other activities generating odor at this time.

Marine Vapor Recovery Flare
Cause: Citizen complained of seeing a very large flare at the Valero dock terminal around 10 pm. Citizen also complained of a very high-pitched, constant tone emanating from Valero that was audible in house from 4:30 pm to 10:30 pm, hurting her ears and disturbing the household.

Followup: No

Notes: The representative from Valero Refining stated that a brief 15 minute flaring episode occurred at the North Flare on December 22, 2012 at approximately 3:30 PM. No reportable quantities or permit limits were exceeded. Correspondence from LADEQ and Valero Refining also indicates that the flare occurred from the marine vapor recovery (MVR) flare, which is described as a short flare, producing a proportionally larger flame than the two main refinery flares. While the Valery Refinery indicated no upsets on the date of the incident, a flaring episode was documented but without any further information.


North Flare
Cause: The flow of chilled water to the C3/C4 Splitter's overhead condensers unexpectedly decreased, causing a pressure increase within the tower. To relieve the pressure, splitter overhead material was relieved to the North Flare.

Followup: No

Notes: A citizen complaint on 7/7/12 described in the morning, the north flare had a very low flame with a black trail. In the pm, there was a high jet burn then low jet burn with black trail light. There was also an odor in the air. A surveillance conducted on 7/16 and 7/20 of the area found no large flare or black trails observed. An odor was not detected at the time of the inspections. To minimize the flaring, the FCC charge rate was reduced. The chilled water heat exchangers were backflushed. This, combined with increasing the chilled water circulation rate, reduced the pressure in the tower and stopped the flaring. While the release to the North Flare caused a temporary exceedence of Title V and Consent Decree limits, no CERCLA/EPCRA reportable quantities were released. No reportable quantities were released during the subsequent flaring to relieve pressure within the tower. Claims they will submit the appropriate periodic reports regarding the exceedences, but no such report attached.


Cause: Citizen noise complaint. Facility representative explained the facility is adjusting the pressure swing absorber tail gas compressor which requires venting some hydrogen to the flare, requiring some steam to be sent to the flare to control combustion.

Followup: No

Notes: Two citizen complaints were made: 6/20/11 at 7:19 am Noise complaint of sounds like an airport-loud roar had lasted throughout the night and is still present at 6:20 on 6/20/11. The noise is audible in house. 6/20/11 at 8:27 am: mid to late afternoon into late night evening was a flaring event. It was a very tall, very narrow, medium orange flame on north flare. The facility is adjusting the steam ratios to reduce the noise.


South flare
Cause: Startup of the alky unit and depropanizer were the source of increase flaring. Propane and butane were being flared during the startup.

Followup: No

Notes: The event will be reported in the semi-annual Title V deviation report. Reportable quantities were not exceeded during the start up. Note: A citizen complain initiated this incident report. The caller reported large flaring, noise, and vibrations at her home.


Gasoline Storage Tank (200-1) Vacuum Breakers
Cause: Citizen complaint filed on 11/8/2013 reporting a foul odor causing headaches. The Liquid level the the external floating roof gasoline storage tank (Tank 200-1) was lowered to a point where the vacuum breakers on the roof started to open. These vacuum breakers are designed to protect the tank when the floating roof is landed onto its legs. With the vacuum breakers open, VOC emmissions from 200-1 would increase above their normal baseline. The level in the tank was lowered, which caused the system to act in such a was as to prevent back flow from the tank into the system (the vacuum breakers opening), however, we are unsure as to how the liquid levels go to be low enough to cause this to happen.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Once this condition was discovered, the liquid level in the tank was increased until the vacuum breakers closed. This opening was logged as a Title V permit deviation, and is to be reported in the next semi-annual Title V deviation report.


Wastewater Treatment Plant
Chemical injection line
Cause: A citizen called in a complaint on 2/18/13 citing a "sulfur odor." The complaint is described: " Sulfur odor noticed at 10:30am and stronger at 04:12pm winds easterly. Started feeling bad and as day worn on began getting headache." LDEQ conducted surveillance of the area on 2/19/13, and noted a slight odor of burnt hydrocarbons near the entrance of the plant from St. Bernard highway. According to Valero facility rep Justin Stubbe, "a review of February 18th operations reveals no upsets or malfunctions. A daily patrol of the refinery perimeter recorded a slight odor from the refinery's wastewater treatment plant. Given the brisk wind that day (10-20 MPH with an approaching front), it is possible that this odor carried further than it normally does. We are reviewing wastewater treatment plant operations for potential opportunities to reduce odors. Two events occurred on the Crude Unit on February 19th. It is unknown whether they may be related to the odors you detected on St. Bernard Highway. A compressor suffered a mechanical failure (approximately 11:45 HRS) and a small leak occurred on a chemical injection line (approximately 16:30 HRS). No emergency condition existed and no reportable quantities were released. The compressor has been shut down for repairs and the chemical injection line was isolated."

Followup: No

Notes: Valero comments that no upsets or malfunctions occurred, but also listed three possible reasons for odors: wastewater odors recorded, a small leak occurred on a chemical injection line, and a compressor suffered a mechanical failure.


South Flare (EQT 0049, EPN 3-77)
Cause: Valero exceeded the reporting threshold for flammable gas emissions at the South Glare due to a loss of flame. Valero had recently shut down a Diesel Hydrotreating Unit and was purging the unit with Nitrogen to the South Flare. The pilot flame sensor alarmed int the Control room and personnel visually inspected the South Flare and discovered that the flame had been extinguished. Valero stopped the Nitrogen flow and attempted to relight the South Flare, but was delayed because electrical power to the ignition system was off. Valero quickly restored electrical power and re-lit the flare. The pilot flame sensor alarmed cleared and visual evidence of a flame was observed.

Followup: No

Notes: Valero stopped the Nitrogen flow and re-lit the South Flare. Valero provided verbal notification within one hour of exceeding the reportable quantity for flammable gas. Valero received no citizen complaints and did not conduct a downwind ambient air monitoring. The incident is under investigation so no specific plan of action has been put into effect to prevent recurrence.
Flammable Gas: 1,134.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 1.6 pounds
Hexane: 207.1 pounds
Hydrogen: 75.3 pounds
Propane: 128.0 
Propylene: 83.2 pounds
Isobutane: 120.2 pounds
n-Butane: 55.7 pounds
Olefins: 19.0 pounds
Isopentane: 37.7 pounds
n-Pentane: 21.5 pounds
Carbon Dioxide: 5.9 pounds
Ethylene: 30.3 pounds
Ethane: 108.5 pounds
Nitrogen: 7,921.5 pounds
Methane: 247.0 pounds