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Valero (1238), Meraux

Releases of Crude Oil

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

High point vent valve on Tank 250-1 injection pump
Cause: the source of the spill was a high point vent valve that was left open on the Tank 250-1 injection pump.

Followup: No Information Provided

Notes: There is no information as to whether this incident was preventable or not. Remedial Measures - Murphy Oil deployed containment booms and recovered the free liquids with vacuum trucks. Soil with signs of visual contamination is being removed for proper disposal. Note: could this be caused by human error????
2,100.0 gallons

Underground PVC drain collection system
Cause: The source of the spill was a crack in the underground PVC drain collection system that has since been repaired.

Followup: No

Notes: Three barrels of crude oil were released inside the secondary containment area of Tank 250-1. There is no information given as to whether or not this accident was preventable or not. Remedial Measures - A preventative maintenance work order will be created to insure weekly vacuum truck service to pump out the north tank farm sump. Murphy Oil deployed contaminant booms and recovered the free liquids with vacuum trucks. Soil with signs of visual contamination is being removed for proper disposal.
126.0 gallons

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.
840.0 gallons

Tank 250-1
Cause: Valve at the 24" fill line leaked into Tank 250-1 and out of an open manway.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ exceeded. Tank is out of service for cleaning and inspection. Spilled material recovered with vacuum trucks and contaminated soil will be removed.
12,600.0 gallons

Tank 250-1
Cause: Leak in the roof drain line within the east side of Tank 250-1 into secondary containment area.

Followup: Yes

Notes: RQ exceeded. Vacuum trucks recovered spilled material and contaminated soil will be removed. Spill was secured. In follow-up, the tank is out of service pending cleaning, inspection, and repair.
5,460.0 pounds

Tank 55-7
Cause: Crude oil spilled from underground transfer line. Unclear/unknown how long spill lasted before discovery.

Followup: No

Notes: RQ. Reportable quantities were exceeded for crude oil. Line flushed with water and permanently removed from service; free liquids vacuumed, visibly contaminated soil removed.
84.0 gallons

Tank 250-1
Cause: HEAVY RAIN. Crude oil spill from contractor equipment employed to clean tank. Multiple problems intersecting: liquid level in skimming tank rose too high and flowed out of inspection window that had been left open. Level setting of tank set too high, tank no longer level due to a month of heavy rains so sensor was out of position, containment pan compromised by pipe lying across it, tank system left unattended. SECONDARY CAUSE: Human Error.

Followup: No

Notes: Contractor will monitor skimming tank & containment more closely, provide refresher training for water wash operations.
126.0 gallons
No LDEQ Reported

Cause: The responsible party for the spill was the transportation firm, where the spill originated from a flange on their barge.

Followup: No

Notes: Valero deployed a boat and booms to mitigate as much of the spill as possible. The RQ for crude oil is 42 gallons.
2.0 gallons
No LDEQ Reported

flange on barge
Cause: Spill of crude oil from a barge at the refinery's Mississippi river dock.

Followup: No

Notes: The responsible party for the spill was the transportation firm, where the spill originated from a flange on their barge. Valero deployed a boat and booms to mitigate as much of the spill as possible.
2.0 gallons

Crude unit heat exchanger
Cause: At approximately 14:09 on 10/25/13, Valero experienced an unexpected release of crude oil when a stopple failed on a Crude Unit heat exchanger while a third party specialty contractor was working to install a bypass. A stopple is a device that isolates equipment for maintenance when a block valve is unavailable. The pressurized crude oil was released in an upward direction for approximately 15 minutes. Although most of the crude oil released remained on site, some of the resulting spray traveled offsite with the wind and was deposited on nearby East St. Bernard Highway and vehicles traveling on the highway. This spray continued in a southwesterly direction and left small spots of crude oil over the exposed sides of Valero buildings and vehicles in the nearby parking lot. Valero's dock facility and a moored ocean-going barge were also covered with a light spotting of small crude droplets. Valero also reported a sheen on the Mississippi River from this release which had largely dissipated by the time containment booms could be deployed. Light spotting has also been reported on some vehicles and structures in the Belle Chasse area. The root cause of the stopple failure was an undersized nose plate. The nose plate is a metal disc slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the pipe that is wedged into the pipe perpendicular to the flow. A gasket is attached to the nose plate that provides a seal along the inner walls of the pipe. In this case, the undersized nose plate did not provide enough support for the gasket and the gasket failed. The stopple fabrication and installation was performed by a third party specialty contractor with extensive expertise in performing this type of work. This contractor also conducted an investigation and determined that the nose plate had been modified in the field on a previous job, but no records of this modification existed. Consequently, this nose plate remained in circulation as a "standard" nose.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Valero immediately took steps to shut off the Crude charge pumps and all nearby unit heaters. The crude oil continued to leak at a much lower rate as the system depressurized, but shortly after the crude pumps were shutdown, oil was no longer spraying off site. A mixture of crude oil and water continued to leak out onto the ground at a reduced rate until all sources of pressure were isolated at 17:20. Valero quickly mobilized contractors to clean up the highway and the barge moored at the dock. The highway was re-opened at 18:21 on 10/25/13 and the barge sailed the next day. Inside the refinery, free oil has been removed by vacuum truck and recovered. Clean-up efforts are on-going in the refinery and south of St. Bernard highway. To date these activities have included: 1) Wiping up visible oil with absorbent materials, 2) Cutting grass spotted with oil and collecting the clippings for disposal, 3) Applying Micro-Blaze Emergency Liquid Spill Control bioremediation agent to affected areas on the ground, 4) Washing spotted vehicles at an offsite location. Valero has provided car washes to the public as well. Air monitoring was conducted on and off site. Valero personnel donned breathing protection (full face respirators) when working in the immediate area of the release. Benzene readings of 0.15 ppm were briefly detected offsite along Valero's property line. Valero has worked closely with the third party contractor to develop corrective actions to prevent a reoccurrence of this event. The third party contractor has committed to: 1) train all stopple set-up technicians to review the findings and reiterate procedures and best practices. 2) inspect all nose plates in use and remove from circulation those that are out of tolerance, 3) implement a receipt inspection requirement to flag field modifications and initiate repair, and 4) modify the Hot Tap Critical step checklist to require the field technician to sigh off on key stopple measurements. Note: During the time of flaring, a citizen complaint was submitted on account of sulfur odor (Incident #151864). According to the environmental engineers from Valero, the odors likely came from Valero's waste water treatment plant, which was operating normally at the time.
8,400.0 gallons