BP North America has agreed to pay an $8 million penalty and invest more than $400 million to install state-of-the-art pollution controls and cut emissions from BP’s petroleum refinery in Whiting, Ind., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When fully implemented, the agreement is expected to reduce harmful air pollution by more than 4,000 tons per year, the EPA says.
The complaint alleges violations of Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements at the Whiting refinery in connection with construction and expansion of the Whiting refinery, as well as violations of a 2001 consent decree with the company that covered all of BP’s refineries and was entered into as part of EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Initiative.
This week’s settlement will lead to the installation of what EPA terms “innovative” pollution controls on the largest sources of emissions at the Whiting refinery, including extensive new controls on the refinery’s flaring devices. (Flaring devices are used to burn-off waste gases. The more waste gases sent to a flare, and the less efficient the flare is when burning those gases, the more pollution that will occur.)
Under the settlement, BP will install new equipment that will limit the amount of waste gas sent to flaring devices in the first place, as well as implement controls to ensure proper combustion efficiency for any gases that are burned in a flaring device. The requirements, similar to those included in a recent settlement with Marathon Petroleum Corp., are part of EPA’s national effort to reduce emissions from flares at refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants.
In addition to the controls on the refinery’s flares, the settlement will also result in reduced emissions by imposing some of the lowest emission limits in refinery settlements to date, enhancing controls on wastewater containing benzene, and providing for an enhanced leak detection and repair program, EPA says.
The settlement also requires the Whiting refinery to spend $9.5 million on projects at the refinery to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
BP will perform a supplemental environmental project in which it will install, operate and maintain a $2 million fence line emission monitoring system at the Whiting refinery and will make the data collected available to the public by posting the information on a publicly accessible website.
Fenceline monitors will continuously monitor benzene, toluene, pentane, hexane, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and all compounds containing reduced sulfur.
The Whiting Refinery has a refining capacity of approximately 405,000 barrels per day, and is the sixth largest refinery in the United States.
More information about the settlement can be found here.