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Valero (1238), Meraux

Releases in 2012

LDEQ Accident Number
Accident Date
Point Source/Release CauseNotes
145543

2012-12-22
Point Source(s):
Marine Vapor Recovery Flare

Pollutant(s):
Flammable Vapor - BRQ
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

Citizen complained of seeing a very large flare at the Valero dock terminal around 10 pm. Citizen also complained of a very high-pitched, constant tone emanating from Valero that was audible in house from 4:30 pm to 10:30 pm, hurting her ears and disturbing the household.
The representative from Valero Refining stated that a brief 15 minute flaring episode occurred at the North Flare on December 22, 2012 at approximately 3:30 PM. No reportable quantities or permit limits were exceeded. Correspondence from LADEQ and Valero Refining also indicates that the flare occurred from the marine vapor recovery (MVR) flare, which is described as a short flare, producing a proportionally larger flame than the two main refinery flares. While the Valery Refinery indicated no upsets on the date of the incident, a flaring episode was documented but without any further information.
145281

2012-12-12
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Steam - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

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.
Citizen complaining of multiple days of flaring and different disturbing noises emanating from Valero refinery throughout December, 2012.
No LDEQ Number Available

2012-12-02
Point Source(s):
NIG

Pollutant(s):
Crude Oil - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

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. The RQ for crude oil is 42 gallons.
No LDEQ Number Available

2012-12-02
Point Source(s):
flange on barge

Pollutant(s):
Crude Oil - 2 gallons
Cause of Problem: Human Factors

Spill of crude oil from a barge at the refinery's Mississippi river dock.
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.
144600

2012-11-11
Point Source(s):
discharge piping of #2 HiJet
discharge piping of #2 HiJet and North Flare
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Flammable Gas - 594 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 131 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 861 pounds
Hydrocarbon - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

Valero experienced excess emissions of hydrocarbon vapors and H2S from a pin-hole leak on the discharge piping of the #2HiJet. The #2 HiJet collects low pressure sour gas from several units in the refinery, compresses it, and routes it to amine treatment for use in the refinery fuel gas system. In the final written notification dated March 11, 2013, Valero determined the root cause to be inadequate system design for corrosion prevention. The leak was caused by pitting corrosion on a piping elbow that was installed in 2010. This short service life indicates an aggressive corrosion mechanism that was not originally anticipated by Valero. Valero conducted ultrasonic and radiography surveys of this line and discovered lower than expected wall thickness in some areas and debris or sludge building obstructing flow in several locations. Low points allowing moisture and solids buildup can cause areas of aggressive corrosion in wet, hydrogen sulfide service. Valero also believes that the pipe metallurgy in this case, carbon steel, should be re-evaluated for fitness for service under these particular process conditions.
Valero quickly diverted the gases normally collected by the #2 HiJet to the flare and shut down the #2 HiJet. Valero then reduced charge rates of the affected units to minimize SO2 emissions at the flare and began the process of transferring some of the diverted gases to the #1 HiJet for recovery. The #1 HiJet has a lower capacity than the #2 HiJet and cannot take all the gases collected by the #2 HiJet. The Vacuum Unit Hotwell Offgas remained in the flare and lean amine to the Hotwell Offgas Scrubber was maximized to reduce SO2 emissions at the flare. Valero discovered that the valve separating the leaking pip and the #1 Amine Low Pressure Knock Out Pot was leaking by and sour gas continued to leak to the atmosphere. Valero installed a temporary hose upstream of the leak to allow the leaking section of the piping to be pressurized with Nitrogen and swept to the flare from a point downstream of the leak. Within minutes of starting the Nitrogen sweep, H2S was no longer detected in the area and the Total Sulfure Analyzer on the flare indicated a significant increase in the flare line. This caused SO2 emissions at the North Flare to exceed RQ. Valero installed a clamp on the leaking section of the pipe and restarted the #2 HiJet Valero issued a second and final follow up report to this incident on March 11, 2013 in which Valero determines the root cause of the release to be inadequate system design for corrosion prevention and believes pipe metallurgy should be re-evaluated.
143678

2012-10-09
Point Source(s):
API Seperator

Pollutant(s):
Pentane - 32,654 pounds
Cause of Problem: Equipment Design

On October 9, 2012, Valero experienced excess emissions of hydrocarbon vapor at the API Separator. Approximately 7 AM that morning, Valero personnel coming into work noticed an unusual odor that was traced to periodic openings of the pressure relief valves on the covered bays of the API Separator. After discovering the release of light hydrocarbon vapors to the atmosphere, Valero applied water sprayed on the area and began to search the refinery for the source of light hydrocarbons. Valero determined the source to be the water draw line off the ROSE Water Knock-Out Drum. The normal path for this water draw line is from the Water Knock-Out Drum to the Oily Water Stripper then to the API Separator. During this event the Oily Water Stripper was shutdown and bypassed so the Water Knock-Out Drum was sent directly to the API Separator. The ROSE unit was in the process of being inventoried with pentane prior to unit start-up. Valero believes that the water level went low in the Water Knock-Out Drum, possibly due to a faulty level indication, and a water/pentane mixture was pumped directly to the API Separator. The pentane then vaporized in the bays of the API and lifted the relief valves. Valero has determined the root causes of this incident to be: 1. Inadequate Procedure: The ROSE start up procedure lacked any steps verifying that the OWS is operating prior to ROSE start up; 2. Poor Equipment Design: The Water Knock-Out Drum level control bridle is susceptible to plugging due to dirty water in the drum. Valero has also determined the following to be contributing factors to this incident: 1. It is difficult to detect hydrocarbons leaving the ROSE unit in the water sent to the OWS. The pentane content of the water stream was not recognized by operations and there is no detector or alarm to notify operations. 2. The API Separator pressure indication was not working properly and provided no warning. 3. The OWS was offline due to lack of feed. The OWS does not have a standby operating mode for low, intermittent flows.
Valero submitted a verbal report on October 9, 2012 and a written report on October 16, 2012, with a follow up report on December 10, 2012, and a final follow up February 6, 2013. The duration of the event lasted 8.25 hours.
143377

2012-09-28
Point Source(s):
South Flare

Pollutant(s):
Propane - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

Excess propane was intermittently discharged to the South Flare when the Depropanized on the Alkylation Unit was shut down for repairs.
Citizen complaint on 9/28/12. On 9/27 complainant observed flaring and steaming. Observed a very deep orange flame, black streaks and some smoke after a heavy rain event. There was a flaring and steaming noise. Both flares were in use. Could hear steaming noises in house. The South Flare was large and bright orange with a noise continuing throughout the night and flaring during the early morning hours of 9/28. The flaring was a deeper orange flame and had an associated noise. Sunrise lighting made the black smoke of the flare more easily visible. The material is very low in sulfur. No reportable quantities were exceeded and there was no upset conditions at the plant.
143178

2012-09-23
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 788 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 3 pounds
Cause of Problem: Piping or Tubing

Units were in a start up after a leak on a refinery fuel gas line required a shutdown.
According to the notification report submitted by the facility, the facility reported a release from the fuel gas system. The fuel gas leak did not release a reportable quantity of flammable gas, however sections of the fuel gas system had to be isolated to perform repairs. Valero completed the start up of the Reformer and NHT according to procedure. Fuel gas leak happened 9/22/12. Sulfur dioxide release during Reformer/NHT startup happened 9/23/12.
143176

2012-09-23
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 40 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 1 pounds
Cause of Problem: Under Investigation

Valero reported excess emissions of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide at the North Flare during a start up of the Reformer unit. Valero continuously measures SO2 and H2S emissions at the North Flare. After 15 hours of Hydrogen flaring, the indicated sulfure content began to rise in an erratic, saw-toothed trend that was inconsistent with process conditions. Routine grad sample monitoring of this Hydrogen confirmed it to be essentially sulfur free. Within 1 hour of the end of Hydrogen flaring, the Total Sulfur readings returned to normal and the erratic saw-toothed trend stopped. Valero has evaluated the plant conditions and data recorded during this event and has concluded that the indicated Total Sulfure concentration was in error for the last 7 hours of flaring. Valero does not know what caused the erroneous readings, but the erratic, saw-toothed pattern trend was similar to previous episodes when the sample lines have become plugged with liquids. Valero will continue to investigate this event and work to identify and correct the cause of the erroneous readings.
40 pounds of sulfur dioxide and less than 1 pound of hydrogen sulfide were released at the North Flare. Valero will work with the manufacturer to determine the cause of the Total Sulfur Analyzer malfunction and any possible corrective actions.
143223

2012-09-03
Point Source(s):

North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Hydrogen Sulfide - 1 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,102 pounds
Cause of Problem: Equipment Design

Incident occurred following Hurricane Isaac at the North Flare during start up of the Hydrocracker unit. Valero has determined the cause to be the system design of the Hydrocracker/Hydrotreater Unit. Under normal operations, gases produced in the Hydrocracking/Hydrotreating Reactors, including H2S, are completely stripped out by steam in the Ore-Fractionator Stripper and sent to amine contractors for treatment; they do not pass into the Fractionator and on to the Fractionator Overheard Receiver. Consequently, the Fractionator Overhead Receiver was not designed with gas handling capabilities. Manual venting to the flare is the only available method of controlling an increase in pressure caused by gas carryover from the Pre-Fractionator Stripper. The design deficiency becomes apparent during unit start up because gases are produced prior to the ability to introduce stripping steam to the Pre-Fractionator Stripper. Stripping steam cannot be introduced until the unit is at the proper operating temperature. Operational experience has shown that even once stripping steam can be introduced, its use is limited at the low charge rates during a start up because excess steam causes erratic flows in the heater passes and delays the completion of the start up. A contributing factor in this event was that De-Asphalted Oil (DAO), a higher sulfur content feed, was introduced to the Hydrotreater prior to reaching adequate stripping steam rates in the Pre-Fractionator Stripper.
Valero will engineer and install a "start-up vent" that will direct the gases vented from the Fractionator Overhead Receiver to be collected by the refinery's HiJet, treated for H2S removal, and used in the refinery fuel gas system. Valero will also revise the Hydrocracker/Hydrotreater startup procedure to delay the introduction of DAO into the Hydrotreater feed until adequate stripping steam rates have been established. According to the LDEQ's list of reportable quantities, the reportable quantity for sulfur dioxide is 500 pounds.
142493

2012-08-30
Point Source(s):
OAF Sump at Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)

Pollutant(s):
Slop Oil - 47 gallons
Benzene - 8 pounds
Cause of Problem: Weather

On August 30, 2012, while assessing conditions following Hurricane Isaac, Valero personnel discovered a slop oil spill to the ground in the Wastewater Treatment area, oil and sheen in a storm water drainage ditch along the western edge of the refinery, and a sheen in the 20 Arpent Canal that receives water from this ditch. A few days later, after the water level had dropped several feet, grass stained with oil was discovered along the 20 Arpent Canal. Valero determined the root cause of this spill to be inadequate containment for the heavy rains and high winds experienced during hurricane· Isaac. When the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) shut down during the hurricane, oil collected in the OAF Sump which overflowed when the area was flooded. The primary cause for this event was Weather, but the secondary cause is Equipment Design (inadequate containment at Wastewater Treatment Plant).
Slop Oil, estimated at 1 barrel (42 gallons), was released to the ground and an estimated 5 gallons was released to water. Valero provided verbal notification within 2 hours of discovering the release of material offsite. Valero recovered the oil on the ground and in the ditch using vacuum trucks and absorbent materials. All soils and vegetation with visible contamination were removed for disposal at an offsite commercial landfill. Valero will design and install a fixed roof and wall around the OAF Sump to prevent the OAF Sump from filling up with storm water and overflowing. The last document LABB has for this event is the 60 day follow up on December 21, 2012. Valero shut down their refinery before the storm and did not report any other pollution besides this slop oil (and benzene that volatilized off of the oil). Citizen complaint made 9/1/12 regarding a strong fuel smell present. Would like to know if an emergency by-pass was occurring because of lack of capacity to contain rainwater. Observed high levels of ponds prior to storm. On 8/30/12 Valero reported the release of 1 barrel of slop oil in the Waste Water Treatment area which ocurred during Hurricane Isaac this complaint was recorded by LADEQ by incident number 142484, but was referenced to this incident by Valero.
142072

2012-08-14
Point Source(s):
#2 SRU Incineration and Boilers B-5, B-6, B-7, and TB-01

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,040 pounds
Cause of Problem: Corrosion

Excess emissions of sulfur dioxide at the #2 Sulfure Recovery Unity Incinerator Stack and Boilers due to the shutdown and subsequent startup of the #2 SRU and #2 Tall Gas Treater. They were shut down due to high pressure in the #2 SRU Furnace caused by plugging in the Sulfur Condenser Seal Legs. Valero has determined the root causes to be the operation of the #2 SRU with minimal acid gas feed to the unit and a steam leak into the process from a steam jacketed pipe between the Sulfur Condensor and the #4 Seal Leg. Past experience has shown that steam leaks into this system can form a mixture with sulfur and other contaminants present that can cause plugging. The reduced sulfur rate meant that there was less flow of sulfur to clear out any plugging that was forming. A corroded pipe cause the steam leak.
After a fire in the Crude Unit, the #2 SRU and many of the units that send acid gas to the #2 SRU were shutdown. To manage a building sour water inventory, Valero started up the #2 SRU with very little acid gas feed. Normally, the feed to the #2 SRU is a combination of acid gas and sour water stripper off gas with the higher proportion being acid gas. After the fire in the Crude Unit, the feed composition changed to a much higher proportion of sour water off gas. Sour water off gas contains less sulfur and more contaminants (e.g hydrocarbons and ammonia) than acid gas. Valero replaced the section of corroded pipe that caused the steam leak prior to the start up on 8/16/12. Valero will also replace all the steam jacketed piping in the #2 SRU at the next turnaround. Valero has commissioned a new acid gas transfer line from the #3 SRU that allows greater flexibility in supplying acid gas to the SRUs which will help prevent running either SRU at low gas rates. Valero will also revise the SRU operating procedures to ensure that this transfer line is used to maintain adequate gas flow. Sulfur dioxide released exceeds the reportable quanitiy of 500 pounds.
141933

2012-08-09
Point Source(s):
NIG

Pollutant(s):
Unknown Substance - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Seal or Gasket

Odor is due to detached seal on tank. LADEQ references incident # 141523 in attached report for this specific incident, but LABB could not locate any additional documentation for incident 141523. The LADEQ report also references incident 141477 in relation to plant operations in relation to this specific instance. While no information is provided indicating what pollutants were released by the detached seal, Valero does admit that the smell reported by the citizen complaint is in relation to the detached seal.
Citizen complaint made on 8/9/12 in regards to observations made on 8/8. Complaint included: Noises that sounded like a helicopter drowned out the TV. A flare was noticed. Has been experiencing flu like symptoms since early in the evening of 8/8/12. This is becoming a routine as far as feeling sick when Valero is supposedly starting up units, which is quite often. Things should be improving, not reverting backwards to the old Murphy way. Survey conducted on 8/10 of the surrounding area around the facility. No odors noted on the west side of the facility in the neighborhoods. On the east side of the property an odor similar to burnt hydrocarbons was noticed near the tank area. DEQ database revealed two additional citizen complaints.
141477

2012-07-22
Point Source(s):
Crude Unit Fire
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinerator Stack, Vacuum Tower Bottoms
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinterator Stack; Vaccuum Tower Bottoms

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 5,916 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 32 pounds
Carbon Monoxide - 296 pounds
Nitrogen Oxide - 326 pounds
Particulate Matter - 2,274 pounds
Total Organic Carbon - 148 pounds
Cause of Problem: Corrosion

Valero experienced a fire in the Crude Unit. Valero reported excess emissions of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and particulate matter from the fire, flaring at the North Flare and South Flare and excess emissions at the #2 Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) Incinerator Stack. Valero was in the process of starting up the Crude Unit following an electrical transformer failure which occurred in the Vacuum Unit on July 20. Incident number 141430 associated with the power failure describes details about the power failure and emissions released directly related to the event on that date. An 8 inch piping elbow in the Crude Unit failed, releasing Vacuum Tower Bottoms (VTB) onto adjacent piping and equipment. The hot product ignited, creating a fire in the pipe rack and a pool fure beneath the Crude Unit desalters and several nearby heat exchangers. The crude unit fire began at 0130 hours on July 22, 2013. The fire was "contained" at 0330 hours, and was extinguished at 0650 hours. The total time duration of the fire was 5.4 hours. The total flaring duration lasted 40.5 hours. Valero concluded that the triggering event was the failure of a piping elbow which resulted from a thinned wall due to high-temperature sulfidation corrosion. The elbow was of carbon steal construction, in a service requiring chrome alloy construction. Valero concluded that the root cause was that poor quality control practices and procedures were utilized when the elbow was installed in 1990 by the previous owner of the refinery.
Shutdown procedures were quickly initiated for all refinery units while the Valero Emergency Response Team responded to the fire. During the event and for part of the day, periodic flaring occurred as units were placed in safe condition. The fire lasted for a duration of 5 hours 24 minutes. Flaring associated with the refinery shutdown occurred for a duration of 40 hours 30 minutes. Sulfur dioxide, estimated at 2534 pounds, and hydrogen sulfide, estimated at 27 pounds, was released at the North Flare, South Flare, and the #2 SRU Incinerator Stack. Sulfur dioxide, estimated at 3382 pounds, and hydrogen sulfide, estimated at 5 pounds, was released from the uncontrolled burning of Vacuum Tower Bottoms in the fire. Before Completion of the repairs and startup of the Crude Unit, Valero conducted PMI testing of all piping circuits potentially subject to sulfidation corrosion in the Crude and Vacuum Units. During this process, some pipin and one additional carbon steel elbow were discovered and replaced. Valero will increase the inspection frequency from once every ten years to once every 2-3 years, which is more frequent than the 5-year inspection interval specified by industry standards for Class 1 piping.
141430

2012-07-20
Point Source(s):
North Flare, South Flare, and #2 SRU Incinerator Stack

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 1,839 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 19 pounds
Cause of Problem: Equipment Design

Valero experienced excess emissions of SO2 and H2S at the North Flare, South Flare, and #2 Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) Incinerator Stack due to a sudden electrical transformer failure that cut power to several process areas within the refinery. Valero determined the root cause to be an electrical failure caused by water intrusion into the air terminal chamber on the 13.8 KV side of the transformer and inadequate insulation on the bus bar and connections. It appears that when the transformer was installed the 13.8KV incoming cables were too short to reach the transformer bushing so a field designed buss work and air terminal chamber was used. This locally designed air terminal chamber proved inadequate to protect the transformer breaker were improperly set and allow too much current to flow to the fault which caused voltage to sag across the reinfery and unnecessary tripped loads that upset other units.
The refinery initiated shutdown procedures for all affected units and followed the MACT UUU SSM Plan to recover the #2 Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) and #2 Tail Gas Treater (TGT). The #2 TGT was bypassed during the upset and subsequent startup. All refinery transformers were visually inspected for signs of water intrusion. Water was found in one other transformer of the same design which was removed and the air terminal box was sealed. The damaged transformer was replaced and a new overhead cable was used to replace the underground cable that was too short. Relay trip settings were changed to better coordinate and protect equipment and prevent unnecessarily upsetting other units. Valero has initiated a project to design and install appropriate terminal boxes in place of the locally designed ores for the three remaining transformers of the same design on site. According to the LDEQ's list of reportable quantities, the reportable quantity for SO2 is 500 pounds.
141027

2012-07-07
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Hydrocarbon - BRQ
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

The flow of chilled water to the C3/C4 Splitter's overhead condensers unexpectedly decreased, causing a pressure increase within the tower. To relieve the pressure, splitter overhead material was relieved to the North Flare.
A citizen complaint on 7/7/12 described in the morning, the north flare had a very low flame with a black trail. In the pm, there was a high jet burn then low jet burn with black trail light. There was also an odor in the air. A surveillance conducted on 7/16 and 7/20 of the area found no large flare or black trails observed. An odor was not detected at the time of the inspections. To minimize the flaring, the FCC charge rate was reduced. The chilled water heat exchangers were backflushed. This, combined with increasing the chilled water circulation rate, reduced the pressure in the tower and stopped the flaring. While the release to the North Flare caused a temporary exceedence of Title V and Consent Decree limits, no CERCLA/EPCRA reportable quantities were released. No reportable quantities were released during the subsequent flaring to relieve pressure within the tower. Claims they will submit the appropriate periodic reports regarding the exceedences, but no such report attached.
131959

2012-06-20
Point Source(s):
NIG

Pollutant(s):
Steam - BRQ
Cause of Problem: No Information Given

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.
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.
139318

2012-05-02
Point Source(s):
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinerator, #3 SRU Incinerator

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 2,364 pounds
Cause of Problem: Weather

A lightning strike affecting Entergy's power distribution network caused a power interruption at the refinery, causing units to undergo safety shutdowns that included venting high rates of gases to both flares. The power interruption affected a significant portion of St. Bernard Parish.affected the north and south flare.
Power to the refinery was quickly restored, but the interruption tripped several units. The refinery established emergency procedures for the units. After stabilizing unit and refinery-wide conditions, the refinery methodically restarted each unit. The refinery received one citizen phone call for noise on the evening of the event. Reportable Quantity was only exceed for sulfur dioxide during this event, but the refinery will report emissions from this event for other pollutants in the annual Emissions Inventory.
138819

2012-04-11
Point Source(s):
North and South Flares

Pollutant(s):
Unknown Substance - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Power Failure

Refinery experience a total loss of electrical power. A transfer switch located in the Entergy substation next to the refinery shorted out and tripped both incoming electrical feeders to the refinery. Immediately following there was significant flaring from both the North and South flares. Power was restored after about 90 minutes. The majority of units were back in stable operation by 04/14/12
Complaint received: On 4/11 at 5:05 am was large dark orange flaring. On 4/12 at 5:12 am was high flare bluish in color. Had been observing a substantial amount of flaring for approximately a month and all of them other than the flare observed on 4/12 have been dark orange. Flares occuring during daylight have black trails associated with them. Cannot tell in the dark if these trails are present. At 6:00-615 am the flare goes into idle mode. The last time a blue flame was observed was when Murphy was using a high jet system. Surveillance conducted in the area on 4/17/12 states that a large flare or smoke was not observed at this time. All equipment in the refinery was shut down, including the process units, steam boilers and instrument and plant air compressors. Power was restored after about 90 minutes. Once power was restored efforts were begun to restart refinery utility systems in preparation for a sequential startup of the process units. Immediately following the loss of power was significant flaring from both the North and South flares. Flaring dissipated once pressures in the unites were stabilized but some flaring did continue. Due to all boilers in the plant having to be shut down, it was not possible to provide steam to the flares so the flares did smoke even when the hydrocarbon flow rates tot he flares were moderate to minimal. Once the boilers were restarted and steam system pressures were adequate, steam flows to the flares were re-established and the smoking was eliminated. Individual unit startups occurred during the following days. On occasions during the startup period, steam relief valves did relieve to the atmosphere causing noise conditions noticeable off site. These steam relief valve events were primarily the results of the changing demands on the steam systems as they worked through the startup process.
138647

2012-04-10
Point Source(s):
North Flare & South Flare
North Flare, South Flare, #2 SRU Incinerator, #3 SRU Incinerator

Pollutant(s):
Carbon Monoxide - BRQ
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - BRQ
NOx - BRQ
Sulfur Dioxide - 15,199 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 135 pounds
Cause of Problem: Power Failure

The root cause of the event was found to be equipment failure at the Entergy substation adjacent to the refinery. Due to a total power interruption at the refinery, units underwent safety shutdowns, which included venting high rates of gases to the North Flare and the South Flare. There were periods of excess opacity at both flares, as there was no controlling steam available. The boilers were also affected by the power outage. As startups proceeded, the refinery experienced some noise from relief valves and some additional sulfur dioxide emissions at the North Flare. Entergy reported that the power interruption was caused by a severe electrical fault at a 13.8 kV tie breaker at the Meraux Substation. Entergy found no evidence to support a definitive root cause. There was some evidence of bird nesting in the immediate area of the fault.
The refinery shut down all units, per written procedures. Once power was restored to the refiner, the refinery assessed and methodically restarted each unit. The refinery received one citizen complaint for odor during this event.
138540

2012-04-03
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Hydrogen Sulfide - 49 pounds
Sulfur Dioxide - 4,500 pounds
Cause of Problem: Under Investigation

An unplanned shutdown and subsequent startup of the Hydrocracker Unit (HCU) occurred. The HCU charge pump tripped after its lube oil pump failed. Possible causes offered by Valero, as of 06/15/12, include a lightning strike and an equipment malfunction. The cause is under investigation at this point, and the refinery promised a follow up letter with the results of the investigation.
Per written procedures, the refinery shut down and started up the Hydrocracker Unit.
138274

2012-03-24
Point Source(s):
South flare

Pollutant(s):
Hydrogen - BRQ
Light Hydrocarbons - BRQ
Sulfur Dioxide - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

Above normal flaring occurred when the naphtha reformer experience an unplanned shutdown. Adjustments were being made to change operating conditions and the unit tripped.
Recycle gas was vented to the South flare until unit conditions were stabilized. The unit was immediately restarted. No significant sulfur dioxide emissions from the flare due to this event. Large dark orange flare with a much black smoke was seen.
137883

2012-03-13
Point Source(s):
Floor of Tank 80-4

Pollutant(s):
Gas Oil - 42 gallons
Cause of Problem: Under Investigation

Oil was found to have leaked out of the floor of Tank 80-4. The cause of the leak is under investigation, as of 03/13/12.
The leak was secured, and the contents of the tank were transferred to another tank. The refinery stated that the tank would be repaired. Soil with signs of visible contamination was recovered and will be disposed of, according to pending data.
137785

2012-03-06
Point Source(s):
NIG

Pollutant(s):
Steam - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

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.
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.
137051

2012-02-07
Point Source(s):
North Flare

Pollutant(s):
Sulfur Dioxide - 3,000 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide - 30 pounds
Cause of Problem: Maintenance/Procedures

The emissions occurred during startup of the Hydrocracker Unit after a planned maintenance turnaround. The exact cause is under investigation, as of 02/14/12.
The refinery made some pressure adjustments in the unit to reduce the emission rate at the flare, and then the startup was completed. The incident is under investigation, which will result in a plan to prevent recurrence.
136516

2012-01-15
Point Source(s):
no information given

Pollutant(s):
Nitrogen - BRQ
Flammable Gas - BRQ
Cause of Problem: Start Up, Shut Down

Elevated flare was experienced. The facility was performing a shutdown procedure which utilized liquid nitrogen for purging of vapors and reactor cool down. The purged vapors and nitrogen were supplemented with refinery fuel gas in order to ensure combustion at the flare, resulting in a higher than normal flare.
LDEQ received a citizen complaint regarding flaring and an odor at 9:31 pm on 1/15/2012 during which time Valero Refinery experienced an elevated flare. No reportable quantities were exceeded.