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Motiva Enterprises (1406), Norco

Releases of Sour Water

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

plug from a line
Cause: during a maintenance operations a plug was blown from its line due to high water pressure levels. This in turn caused the plug to break free and allow the sour water (containing benzene) to be released

Followup: No

Notes: There was not an official verification of what was carried out to remediate the problem. It was noted that vacuum trucks might have been able to handle the spill and that a new valve would be inserted to close off the line and stop the leak. Because the release spilled onto the concrete containment where the PPI separator is, that unit was blocked off.

vent knockout drum PV-134
Cause: On 12/2/11 at 7:40 pm a resident of Norco, LA phoned the Motiva Norco Site Supervisor and communicated that a strong odor was coming from the site into the community. An immediate investigation by onsite personnel determined that the odor was from Motiva's Coker Unit. While depressuring the coke drum, PV-917, sour water in the vent knockout drum, PV-134, was pressured out into the atmosphere causing a strong odor. The refinery claims the odor dissipated by 9:00 pm. A follow-up call was made to the resident describing what was found. The resident stated that the smell was gone.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Initial report says that the odor was traced to the Coker unit and that the coker unit was operating normal, but that the wind was blowing toward the neighbor's house. Further investigation shows there was a release. Weather at the time of the incident was 58 degrees and clear. The winds were out of the East/Northeast at 3mph.

DEA overhead stripper column flange at sulfur plant S-3
Cause: On 11/22/11 at 3:30 pm, maintenance personnel were in the process of replacing carbon steel bolts with stainless steel on E-6402. After changing seven of the eight bolts on the flange, a leak developed from the flange. The material released was sour water containing sulfur dioxide, and appeared to be coming from a failed gasket. Leak was on the inlet fans of the DEA stripper at sulfur plant S-3

Followup: Yes

Notes: The maintenance personnel immediately stopped work due to the safety hazard presented by the leak . A plan was developed to safely complete the repair, which was carried out the following day on 11/23/11. Final calculations confirm that no reportable quantities were exceeded during this event.