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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Oil

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

Coker Unit
Cause: Incident was due to a level controller malfunction.

Followup: Yes

Notes: A level controller malfunctioned, allowing the liquid to go into a blowdown system which vents into the atmosphere. About 15 barrels of crude was released and contained. Unknown quantities of Xylene and Hydrogen Sulfide were released.

No information given
Cause: Piping flange began leaking due to overpressure releasing coke feed oil to soil.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Spill was cleaned using a vacuum truck and by removing contaminated soil and filling the area with fresh soil.
84.0 gallons
No LDEQ Reported

Slop Oil sump (W-427)
Cause: Power switch to high-level alaram and pump for W-247 were in "off" position while draining material from wharf's loading arm to sump, causing sump to overflow.

Followup: Yes

Notes: This is the follow up to the verbal notification on 04/14/05. Operator immediately restored power to W-427 pump, beginning drainage of sump into the slop oil header. Operations then activated the Site Oil Spill Team and OSRO Contractor ES&H to contain the material that was released into the Mississippi River. Oil booms and absorbant pads were used to recover the released Oily material; no remedial actions specified
20.0 gallons

Tank A-405
Cause: Tank A-405 was being emptied for inspection. After several truck loads of solids were removed, some products/solids splashed out of the manway onto the ground. Material which had adhered to the sidewall of the tank may have fallen into residual materials in the tank bottom, causing a wave of material to splash out of the manway. The material overfilled the secondary containment which had been placed under the manway.

Followup: No

Notes: The material was released to the soil and hydrocarbon vapors dispersed to the air naturally. Pumper trucks and clean up crews were immediately called to recover the oil. Upon completion of free-product removal, all stained soils were excavated. Soils that were removed were disposed of in the Motiva on-site landfill.
210.0 gallons


Cause: Verbal notification on 11/25/06 states flaring was due to starting Motiva Norco unit up from a turn around.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Verbal notification on 11/25/06 states that intermittent flaring occurred from both coker FE-401 and Utilities East flare FE-501, both of which are elevated flares.

Unspecified light olefin line
Cause: An open bleeder valve was discovered during the commissioning of a 6" light olefin line, resulting in hydrocarbons escaping to the soil.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations closed the bleeder valve and notified the Site Supervisor. Vacuum trucks were deployed and contaminated soils were removed. The findings of the investigation were dispersed throughout operations via shift meetings and operational procedures were reviewed. The operator found to be at fault was individually met with and reprimanded by business area management.
126.0 gallons

external mixer on tank F-470
Cause: "An external mixer on tank F-470 developed a leak due to a catastrophic bearing failure, which punctured the mixer's external case. In addition, seal failure allowed the head pressure of the tank to relieve through the damaged external case."

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations placed containment under leak site and collected spilled material via vacuum truck. The external case leak was sealed with expandable foam sealant that was pumped into the case cavity. Mixer was removed and replaced with a new one. Upon completion of repairs, excavation of visually stained soils with initiated. To prevent recurrence, plans are being implemented to move the mixer to a manway of sufficient height to prevent water impacting seal and bearing life. Finally, a formal preventative maintenance schedule will be adopted in conjunction with the current visual surveillance and operator rounds.
275.1 gallons

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.
6,234.1 gallons

pipe in dewatering system
Cause: A 1/2" diameter previously unidentified area of external corrosion on a 6" sub-surface crude water draw line failed during normal operations.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations immediately isolated the line through the use of existing valves, called out additional personnel to begin containment, clean up, and repair operations and notified the Norco Site Supervisor. Vacuum trucks were utilized to recover all standing liquids. After removal of the liquid hydrocarbon was completed, excavation of visually stained soils was initiated. An external clamp has been installed on the line and the repair area re-coated to prevent additional corrosion. A project has been initiated to relocated this water draw piping above ground.
374.2 gallons


Cause: Maintenance activities caused 3 barrels of oil to spill into the conveyance system.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Spill booms were deployed and vacuum trucks picked up material from water at the booms. Incident is listed as below reportable quantity because all oil, oil/water emulsion, and water were recovered from the wastewater system.
126.0 gallons

Tank F-455 rundown line
Cause: A leaking flange on the rundown line of tank F-455 was discovered during refill operations.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations personnel halted product transfer, tightened the flange to stop the release, called out additional personnel to begin containment and vapor suppression foaming, began clean up operations, and notified the Norco Site Supervisor. All material released to the ground was picked up via vacuum trucks and stored in fractionation tanks to facilitate source control sampling. All hydrocarbon impacted soil was excavated and disposed of in Motiva's on-site landfill. Regarding remedial actions, each tank within the logistics organization will be evaluated on a case-by-case frequency to determine the need to excavate rundown lines during scheduled tank turnaround activities. The work scope of the tank turnaround process will be revised to include excavation and inspection of all flanges and to include flange make-up requirements that ensure an adequate seal is maintained at the flange interface.
267.0 gallons

DU5 Unit
Cause: LDEQ field report states that incident involved a fire and heavy gas oil leak in the DU5 Unit. Resulted in shut down of DU5, SATS, and DIH units. FIRE. LDEQ report states that "facility failed to perform operating procedures to prevent or reduce air pollution as required by LAC 33:III:905 A.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantity for particulate matter and CO were exceeded. LDEQ field report states that according to facility personnel perimeter air monitoring at time of fire was conducted and indicated no off-site impact. As of 1/23/10 approximately 12,000 gallons of skimmed material [oil & water] had been collected. FOLLOW-UP: Resulted in emergency condition. Fire was extinguished. Vacuum trucks and boom deployed to contain spill and firefighting fluid. Soil excavated and transported to landfill.
42.0 gallons

Pump seal
Cause: On May 29, operations personnel discovered a pump seal was leaking.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Operations stopped and isolated the pump to reduce material escaping from containment. Foam was placed on top of the spill to reduce vapors. The material was removed from containment by vacuum truck. To prevent recurrence, the mechanical department is assessing the pump to provide recommendations for changes to the seal to prevent reoccurrences. Recommendations will be implemented as appropriate. The LDEQ report mentions that this incident report number (148925) is linked to incident numbers 149187, 149203, and 149223.
125.6 gallons