Power problems cause flaring at Delaware City refinery

Some odors were detected in the community near the refinery, but refinery operators say no detectable readings of sulfur compounds were found. 

An electrical fault happened at the Delaware City Refinery around 7:15 Sunday night.  That caused a number of units to shut down, which in turn resulted in the flaring of some chemicals that had been going into the refining process. 

During the shutdown, more than 1,000 pounds of Carbon Monoxide was released, according to a report released by the National Response Center.  The refinery also released 500 pounds of Sulfur Dioxide, 100 pounds of Hydrogen Sulfide and 10 pounds of Hydrogen Cyanide.  

A recording on the refinery’s community information line said refinery officials toured the community surrounding the refinery and, other than the foul odor, found no detectable signs of sulfur compounds.  Ironically, the refinery’s power problems cut off the company’s information hot-line that was specifically set up to respond to community concerns following such an event as Sunday night’s incident.  A recording posted on the line this morning says, “We apologize for any inconvenience and have identified this issue as something we need to address in the very near future.”  The information line can be reached at (302) 834-6200.

The Delaware City Refinery was restarted earlier this year by PBF Energy, an event celebrated by state leaders in October.  The restart was a big feather in Governor Markell’s cap after working to find a new company to operate the facility after it was shuttered by Valero in 2009.  

Part of what Markell and others celebrated as the plant was re-fired was the cleaner way the refinery would be operated.  Markell said then, “They’ve made significant progress already, and you heard [PBF Energy leader] Tom O’Malley say earlier that they believe that they can continue to make progress.”  The permit issued to PBF allowed for 2,500 tons of Nitrous Oxide (NOX) emissions per year, half of the 5,000 tons per year allowed under the previous permit.  That permit would dwindle the allowance for NOX emissions to about 1,650 tons per year over the next three to four years.

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