CO Refinery Shut Down Release Not Harmful

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 03:10 PM gHale

Orange smoke, created as a result of a sulfur dioxide release, that billowed last week from a Commerce City, CO, refinery is not harmful, said officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Air quality modeling of the emissions malfunction at Suncor on Oct. 14 did not create a public health concern, according to a public health department tweet.

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Suncor returned to full operation and the plant is in compliance with emission limits, the state health department said.

A power failure at the refinery caused an emergency shut down and sent sulfur dioxide into the air as part of the shut down procedure. The billowing smoke led emergency officials to warn nearby residents to stay indoors and to lockdown a school and close roads for a few hours.

Suncor, based in Canada, processes oil at the refinery, producing gasoline and other products. Suncor runs three refineries, including the Commerce City one.

The Colorado refinery can produce 98,000 barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel and asphalt per day. Suncor acquired the refinery from ConocoPhillips in 2003 in a $150 million deal that included 43 retail gas stations. Suncor then formed a U.S. subsidiary called Suncor Energy USA in Denver.

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