Friday, November 30, 2007

EPA Notifies BP Whiting Refinery Of Major Clean Air Violations

Nov 29: U.S. EPA Region 5 notified BP Products North America Inc. of alleged violations of multiple Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements at its Whiting, Indiana refinery.

EPA alleged that the BP Whiting refinery, located at 2815 Indianapolis Boulevard: (1) Failed to obtain a permit when it made major modifications to its fluidized catalytic cracking unit. The unpermitted modification caused significant increases of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10), and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. (2) Violated New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) by modifying flares without complying with requirements, exceeding SO2 emission limits, and failing to monitor emissions from several sources. The NSPS are national emission standards for new and modified industrial facilities that contribute significantly to air pollution. (3) Failed to conduct timely performance tests of hydrogen chloride emissions from its catalytic reforming units. BP has 10 days to request a conference to discuss the violations.

In late summer, following an intense public controversy with Congressional and EPA intervention regarding increased wastewater discharges to Lake Michigan, BP America announced that the same Whiting refinery would meet the lower discharge limits contained in the refinery's previous wastewater treatment permit [See WIMS 9/04/07]. BP had obtained regulatory approval to increase average daily discharge limits for ammonia from 1,030 to 1,584 pounds per day and for total suspended solids (TSS) from 3646 to 4925 pounds per day to modernize the Whiting refinery and greatly increase the amount of Canadian heavy crude it can process.

At that time, BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone issued a release saying, "We have participated in an open and transparent permitting process with the State of Indiana and obtained a valid permit that meets all regulatory standards and is protective of water quality and human health. Even so, ongoing regional opposition to any increase in discharge permit limits for Lake Michigan creates an unacceptable level of business risk for this $3.8 billion investment."

Access a release on EPA's CAA allegations (click here). Access a detailed Enforcement & Compliance history report on this facility (click here).