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Valero (1238), Meraux

Releases of Steam

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

North Flare
Cause: Two steam vents were opened to the atmosphere during the first week of the month. On December 11, 2012, there was a release of steam from the North Flare.

Followup: Yes

Notes: Citizen complaining of multiple days of flaring and different disturbing noises emanating from Valero refinery throughout December, 2012.

Cause: Citizen noise complaint. Facility representative explained the facility is adjusting the pressure swing absorber tail gas compressor which requires venting some hydrogen to the flare, requiring some steam to be sent to the flare to control combustion.

Followup: No

Notes: Two citizen complaints were made: 6/20/11 at 7:19 am Noise complaint of sounds like an airport-loud roar had lasted throughout the night and is still present at 6:20 on 6/20/11. The noise is audible in house. 6/20/11 at 8:27 am: mid to late afternoon into late night evening was a flaring event. It was a very tall, very narrow, medium orange flame on north flare. The facility is adjusting the steam ratios to reduce the noise.

Cause: Operations personnel were making adjustments to the steam systems to eliminate the venting of excess steam to the atmosphere. A pressure relief valve on the system opening to the atmosphere for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, a possible source for the noise/whistle listed in the complaint. LDEQ report states that the large pressure release caused constant flaring for hours after initial discharge.


Notes: Citizen Complaint: March 6th around 2pm and 7pm it was observed what may have been a continuous use of north flare with dark streak and sooty trailing smoke and associated flaring noise through neighborhood that was audible inside homes. March 7th around 830 am pressure relief valve jolted residents, some had windows open, big pressure was released creating sounds like jet engines, damaging ear drums. It was followed by very loud, extremely high-pitched constant tone for over 5 minutes hurting ears. Around 1-2 pm on March 7th a deep orange flaring with sooty trailing smoke was observed. It contained match-burnt fuel smell in neighborhood with odors getting strong as you approach Valery. At 7pm on March 7th the flare is still in use. A video of the flare was viewed for March 7th. It was noted that it was deep orange in color but not with a sooty trail as listed in the complaint. Facility did not experience any upset conditions that resulted in emissions in excess of permit limits or violations of regulatory requirements at this time.