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Placid Refining (2366), Port Allen

Causal Factor: Instrument Failure

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

Cause: The discharge was a result of failure of redundant safety systems: 1. a faulty level control did not turn on the appropriate pump; 2. failure of the high level alarm system

Followup: No

Notes: Tank 27 dike area using a vacuum truck and transportating it to an onsite crude oil tank for reuse in the refining process. Visual estimate for amount spilled.
Crude Oil: 420.0 gallons

Tank 23/Tank 24
Cause: Faulty transfer hose, release during transfer from tank 23 to tank 24

Followup: No

Notes: Removed contaminated soil. Replaced faulty hose. Release was to the land in the immediate vicinity of Tank 24. There was no offsite impact. Sediment classified as K169 hazardous waste. Hazmat incident # 05-03784
Oil tank sediment mixed with crude: 200.0 gallons


Flare at #2 Sulfur Plant
Cause: Instrument failure lead to an upset in Placid's #2 Sulfur Plant requiring acid gas be sent to the flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Replaced instrument in question. PLacid's flare does not have a permit limit for sulfur dioxide.
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,606.0 pounds


Cause: Instrumentation failure caused acid gas to be sent to flare

Followup: No

Notes: Placid's instrument dept. put the failed instrument in question
Sulfur Dioxide: 2,606.0 pounds

#2 Sulfur Recover Unit
Cause: Water got into the instrument air system which resulted in the diversion of acid gases to the number three sulfur unit that resulted in the excess emissions from the #2 Sulfur Recover Unit.

Followup: No

Notes: Police report only. No letter or follow up from the refinery.
Sulfur Dioxide: 1,054.0 pounds

Tank 15
Cause: According to the Courtesy Notification of release from Tank 15 thay is ongoing, "the fixed roof tank over pressured and caused a bulge in the roof. Several holes developed along the seams allowing the tank to vent emissions to the atmosphere instead of the vapor combuster". Venting fumes directly to the atmosphere.

Followup: No

Notes: "The tank is storing heavy No.6 oil and a plan to repair or take the tank out of service for repairs is being developed and will be implemented as soon as practical",according to the refinery report. Tank is cooled and emptied. The tank will be cleaned in 30 days and repairs will be made but due to the heavy contents, this may last 6 months conservatively. SPOC states that emissions for VOCs were less than 1000 lbs and less than 10 lbs for H2S. Follow-up letter states that a discharge was in excess of of permit levels and will cause a deviation that will last longer than 7 days, but there is no indication of which pollutant they might be referring to. Tank 15 must be cleaned to repair the tears on the roof. This operation requires a completely sealed tank, therefore, breathing emissions are now going to the atmosphere and will continue until the tank is de-inventoried. Unsure of how long it will take to clean and repair the tank due to heavy storage contents, and conservatively assumes it will take at least six months to complete.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): 1,000.0 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide: 10.0 pounds

SRU #3
Cause: An electronic level indication in Placid's Sulfur Recovery Unit #3 (SRU #3) was faulty which caused excess sulfur carry over to Talk Gas Treatment Unit NO2 (TGTU #2). The carryover caused the TGTU #2 quench tower to plug. The plugging created excess pressure in SRU #3 and the TGTU#2 was bypassed lining up the SRU #3 off gas directly to the SRU #2 incinerator. The incinerator then shutdown due to the excess load and the acid gas stream going to the SRU #3 had to be flared. At this time operations began reducing rates to the FCC unit to bring the total refinery sulfur production down so SRU #2 could handle the load while trying to re-light and return SRU #3 to service. In approximately 30 minutes SRU #3 and the incinerator was back online and the acid gas stream was removed from the flare. Operations continued to reduce refinery charge rates to reduce sulfur production so SRU #3 and TGTU #2 could be shutdown to clean the plugged tower. During the shutdown of SRU #3 sweet natural gas is used to sweep the catalysts beds to keep the recovery catalyst from solidifying with sulfur. During this sweeping process excess sulfur dioxide emissions occur from the incinerator as the sulfur is swept off the catalyst. Placid is permitted to sweep the catalyst beds once per year to change the catalyst but that one event has already occurred this year. Placid opened the TGTU #2 quench column for inspection and cleaning prior to returning the SRU #3 and TGTU #2 back to service.

Followup: No

Notes: Placid implemented the Preventative Maintenance and Operation Plan (PMO) and procedures to reduce the refinery sulfur production to reduce the duration and amount of excess emissions. Placid will conduct a formal Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and submit a separate report for this incident per a Settlement Agreement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). During this process procedures and measures to minimize and prevent recurrence of similar incidents will be evaluated, implemented and reported as required.
Sulfur Dioxide: 8,742.0 pounds


Cause: Placid notified State Police Hotline of a release of an unknown quantity of sulfur dioxide. The release was reported to have occurred due to a false level that occurred while in shutdown mode. This caused an upset condition on incinerator 1.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Approximately 20 lbs above Placid's permitted emissions of SO2 were released from emission source 6-77.
Sulfur Dioxide: 31.9