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Valero (1238), Meraux

Releases of Sulfides

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

Outfall 003
Cause: Loss of sump pumps in the wastewater treatment plant cooling tower and piping system problems. Opened Outfall 003 (Emergency Stormwater Outfall) to the 20 Arpent Canal. Wastewater storage capacity was not available due to prior storm events.

Followup: No

Notes: Murphy Oil set up temporary lines and pumps to bypass the plugged wastewater treatment plant biororeactor charge lines reworked sump pumps and returned lines and pumps to service. Chemicals in discharged stormwater and process water included ammonia, sulfides, phenol, oil and grease in undisclosed quanitities.
see above

Cause: On March 9, 2013, a caller complained of a sulfur like odor. A fire company and a chief reponded ot the area and confirmed the odor, sulfur like and source unknown. The area is right outside of a refinery (Valero) the strongest odors were at Judge Perez and Jacob Dr. Additionally, 3 other complaints were made: 9:55pm on 3/9, 8:09pm on 3/10, 4:30pm at 3/10. All three complaints report an odor. One complaint mentions flaring. On March 9th and 10th, the Meraux Refinery prepared several process units for a planned maintenance turnaround. Process equipment on the Merox Unit was de-inventoried, water-washed, and steamed in preparation for entry. When the wash water and steam condensate was drained to the refinery sewer system, some residual process material (including malodorous reduced-sulfur compounds) volatilized to the atmosphere. This is believed to be the source of the odor complaints received by LDEQ and the refinery. When this drained material reached the refinery's waste water treatment plant, it may have also generated odors from that location. Both flares were operating during this period. The Valero Environmental Manager stated that the flow rate and sulfur content of the flare gas were within normal ranges. No reportable quantity exceedences or emergency conditions resulted from this activity. An LDEQ inspector conducted surveillance of the area on 3/14/13 and did detect an odor at the time of the inspection.

Followup: No

Notes: During the cleaning of the equipment on the Meraux Unit in a preparation for entry, the wash water was sent to the treatment plant. Agitation of the water released sulfur containing fumes to the atmosphere. The draining of the wash water was slowed down to prevent the agitation of the fumes. Four separate LDEQ numbers were assigned to this incident and complaints: 147265, 147182, 147183, 147185. When the odors became apparent, draining activity was suspended. Draining was resumed on March 11 at a reduced rate and no further odor complaints were received. Valero will review its turnaround plans to ensure that future drainage events are less likely to contribute to off-site odors.