Refinery Chemical Leak Fixed

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 @ 03:08 PM gHale

None of the chemicals released during an incident last week at the West Refinery in Corpus Christi, TX, exceeded allowed levels, Flint Hills Resources officials said.

A leak detected at the plant’s alkylation unit about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday released 246 pounds of propane, 27.5 pounds of hydrofluoric acid and 26.1 pounds of a mixture of different volatile organic compounds, according to emissions estimates Flint Hills Resources (FHR) submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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“After further review of the incident, FHR has determined that the release was in an amount that was below the reportable quantity for each of these constituents,” according to the company’s emission report.

The alkylation unit produces high-octane products for gasoline. Hydrofluoric acid is a catalyst to create those products. The Environmental Protection Agency requires companies to report hydrofluoric acid releases of 100 pounds or more.

The leak occurred in a 90-degree bend of a flare pipeline on the alkylation unit, according to the company’s report.

Employees wrapped the problem area with a special chemical tape, which stopped the leak at 12:48 a.m. Wednesday.

Air monitoring in the area detected “trace levels” of hydrofluoric acid the company reported weren’t of the concentration to cause health problems.

Monitors along the edge of the refinery did not pick up any levels of hydrofluoric acid, the company reported.

The unit was restarted Saturday, Flint Hills spokeswoman Katie Stavinoha said.

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