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U.S. EPA asks for study of waste ponds at Martinez refinery

Release Date: 12/18/2003
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, 415-947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it is requiring a study of two waste ponds at the former Tosco Avon Refinery in Martinez, Calif. to determine the extent of any contamination from refinery operations.

The refinery is already undergoing pollution clean up under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA that requires an investigation and cleanup of pollution from former waste management areas at the refinery.

This required study is the result of a letter from the current owner of the refinery, Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., to the EPA reporting that wastes such as oil, contaminated water and separation sludge were deposited in Deacon's Pond and South Pond in early 1991. The information came from recently discovered documents.

Both ponds are located well within refinery property. The study the EPA is requiring will confirm whether all of the oil, contaminated water and separation sludge were accounted for in past human health and ecological risk assessment for Deacon's Pond, and that the nature and extent of contamination at South Pond is thoroughly investigated.

In May 2002, Tesoro purchased the refinery from Ultramar Diamond Shamrock. In 2000, Tosco Refining Company, which was later acquired by Phillips Petroleum Company, sold the refinery to Ultramar Diamond Shamrock.