Delaware County officials reassured on safety measures at closed refineries

Following a briefing, Delaware County officials say they have confidence in the safety measures that have been put into place at two shuttered refineries.

“No one’s feeling good that the refineries are shutting down, but they’re feeling good that safety measures are in place to protect not only the refinery and the people that are left there but also the communities,” says Ed Doyle, the head of the local emergency planning committee.

Doyle, who previously worked in safety operations for both the Sunoco and ConocoPhillips refineries, said concerns revolved about what the companies might leave behind on the refinery sites.

“In an oil refinery, you have flammable liquids. You are producing gasoline and diesel fuels and things of that nature,” he said. “Now, all of a sudden, you’re no longer a refinery. What happens to those hazardous materials?”

Both companies have informed the county they will remove all chemicals from the sites, according to Doyle. The gates of the empty facilities will remain guarded for the foreseeable future. In fact, the companies plan to maintain virtually all their regular security operations, including roving patrols, at least for now.

Sunoco and ConocoPhillips both want new owners to take over the facilities. Doyle says everyone hopes other personnel will join the security teams as the plants become active again.

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