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TESORO REFINERY TO PAY $681,780 TO SETTLE POLLUTION CASE
Release Date: 4/11/2000
Contact Information: Jim Sayer, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1851
SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Tesoro Hawaii Corporation has agreed to take a series of pollution prevention measures and pay a $681,720 penalty to settle alleged violations of federal environmental laws at Tesoro's oil refinery in Campbell Industrial Park, Oahu. The alleged violations included releases of sulfur dioxide that sickened dozens of people in late 1995, causing them to seek medical help. At that time, the refinery owner and operator was BHP Petroleum Americas Refining Inc.
"This refinery's excessive air pollution harmed nearby residents," said Deborah Jordan, acting director of EPA's regional Air Division. "The settlement we've reached with Tesoro puts preventive measures into effect to protect Campbell Industrial Park's neighbors as well as the shoreline environment."
In a complaint filed along with the settlement document, EPA alleged that Tesoro failed to maintain and operate equipment in a manner consistent with good air pollution control practice, burned fuel gas that contained excess hydrogen sulfide, failed to comply with leak detection and repair requirements to prevent volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, and failed to comply with work practice and reporting requirements for VOC emissions from the refinery's wastewater systems.
EPA claimed that Tesoro also violated the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with leak detection, repair, and reporting requirements for benzene sources. In addition, the complaint alleged that Tesoro violated reporting requirements of the federal Superfund law and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act by failing to notify federal, state and local authorities of hazardous substance releases. Finally, EPA alleged that Tesoro violated the Clean Water Act because it had inadequate spill prevention measures, and failed to revise a Facility Response Plan to handle oil spills.
The settlement requires Tesoro to pay a penalty of $681,780. In addition, Tesoro is required to: (1) modify its sulfur recovery units to avoid unplanned shutdowns and prevent excess sulfur dioxide (SO2) air emissions; and (2) increase the capacity and effectiveness of its secondary containment areas at the refinery to prevent oil spills from threatening the shoreline. Finally, Tesoro agreed to provide $50,000 worth of equipment to the City and County of Honolulu to support emergency responses to hazardous material incidents and to improve management of emergency planning responsibilities.
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