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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA orders Greka to study potential hazardous waste releases at Santa Maria, Calif. refinery

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Nahal Mogharabi (

SAN FRANCISCO —Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Greka to conduct sampling at its Santa Maria, Calif. refinery to determine whether improper storage and management of hazardous wastes contaminated local soil and groundwater.

“Poor management of hazardous waste can release contaminants into the environment and affect local communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Deputy Regional Administrator Deborah Jordan. “Today’s order requires Greka to determine if its refinery is affecting nearby farmlands, groundwater and the communities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe.”

A December 13, 2018 EPA inspection found Greka’s facility, which does not have a required permit to store hazardous waste, had improperly stored, labeled and managed hazardous waste from their refinery processes. EPA inspectors documented waste dumped directly into an unlined pit, also known as a surface impoundment, located 90 feet from agricultural lands.   

Today’s order requires Greka to develop a plan to determine and catalogue the magnitude and extent of possible off-site migration of hazardous wastes. The work plan must provide extensive information on the surface impoundment, including age, capacity, structural integrity, construction, and maintenance procedures. Greka must analyze the hazardous waste and develop a comprehensive groundwater and soil monitoring plan to ensure contamination is not migrating off-site. The company has 45 days to submit the plan to EPA for approval.

The EPA is coordinating its investigation with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to ensure effective oversight of the facility. 

Greka’s Santa Maria facility is surrounded by agricultural land and close to residential neighborhoods of Santa Maria and Guadalupe.

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