Delaware City refinery takes another step to fit into the community

The Delaware City refinery took another step to show it does want to create a positive impression and be a better neighbor.

The oil refinery kicked off its first ever community day for local families to come and tour the facility. The massive 5,000 acre site, which processes millions of dollars of crude oil to usable fuels opened its doors to show attendees its inner workings.

Staff from the many departments run the refinery were on hand explaining what role they play in the site’s operations.

Exhibits included a movie viewing tent that documented the production of the plant from beginning to end, safety equipment needed by the staff and rescue workers, as well as charts explaining air pollution levels.

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Thomas Godlewski, Senior Environmental Engineer of the plant explained these charts as well as what the public should know regarding what the site produces. “The most common reported excess air emissions that come from the site are carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide”. Of the countless hazardous gases produced, he continued, “we have to ensure they are all burned before being released into the air,” he said.

The refinery has been owned by several companies of the last decade. The Markell administration was instrumental in getting PBF energy, the current owners, to purchase it from Valero, the last refinery owner. Some residents complain about emissions and an air quality study did show a drop in pollutants in the period before the refinery start up. Refinery officials have said they would like to have a cleaner plant and did install some devices that could get the refinery process to be less polluting before it went back on line.

Those who did attend the fair got to see some of the units which respond to the refinery in case of emergency from the plants personal fire department to the state of Delaware Hazmat Unit.

Joe Leonetti of the State of Delaware Emergency Response Hazmat Decontamination Unit said they are in more of a back up role in relation to the plant. “We hardly ever get dispatched here because they have their own emergency teams that can handle most emergencies.” He added they were called in after an explosion and worker was killed in 2001, which was three refinery owners ago.

Games and moon bounces were available to kids that attended as well as ice cream and other refreshments. Children and adults alike were able to tour emergency hazmat and fire trucks, and a crowd favorite, Delaware State Police helicopter.

Information was also given to patrons regarding safety routes to take in case of emergency. No one would say whether this was just a one time event or if the Delaware City oil refinery will hold this event again next year.

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