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Big West Oil to pay penalty and spend $18m for emission control

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Staff writer ▼ | August 26, 2013
Big West OilBig West Oil has agreed to pay a $175,000 penalty and to spend approximately $18 million to install emission controls at its refinery in North Salt Lake, Utah, said the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Big West Oil will also invest $253,000 to improve the monitoring and management of potential releases of hydrofluoric acid at the facility.

The agreement resolves alleged violations of key provisions of the Clean Air Act at the refinery, including requirements associated with the Prevention of Significant Deterioration and New Source Performance Standards.

When fully implemented, the controls and requirements under the agreement will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) by approximately 158 tons per year (tpy), nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 32 tpy, and particulate matter (PM) by approximately 36 tpy. Additional reductions of volatile and hazardous pollutants, such as benzene, are expected as a result of compliance with leak detection and repair requirements.

"This settlement will result in substantial reductions in harmful air pollution and, building on previous settlements with area refineries, marks another step forward in improving the quality of air Utahns breathe in the Salt Lake City area," said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

"EPA continues to secure significant settlements with refineries that benefit public health and improve air quality in our communities," said EPA Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath.

The settlement requires Big West Oil to install a state-of-the-art flue gas filter system to control emissions of PM and to place ultra-low NOx burners on four heaters and boilers. The company will also undertake measures to reduce SO2 emissions from the refinery by, among other things, restricting hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in fuel gas and installing and operating a caustic scrubber system at the sulfur recovery plant.

Big West Oil has agreed to make numerous upgrades to its leak detection and repair program, including the installation of low-leaking valves, and to enhance its waste operations to minimize or eliminate fugitive benzene emissions. The company will spend $253,000 on a supplemental environmental project to install a laser detection system around the perimeter of the Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Unit that will improve the detection and response to releases of potentially hazardous acid.

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