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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Sunoco Point Breeze (Refinery and Marketing) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

**NOTE – The EPA is aware of the recent fire and plans regarding closure of this refinery. The EPA does not anticipate issues completing all necessary environmental investigations and, if necessary, remedial activities under the Corrective Action Program to ensure protection of human health and the environment.**

The former Sunoco, Inc. Point Breeze Philadelphia Refinery is part of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining and Marketing, LLC Refinery (Facility). The entire PES Facility consists of Point Breeze as well as the former Sunoco, Inc. Girard Point Philadelphia Refinery and the former Sunoco Schuylkill River Tank Farm. The Girard Point Fact Sheet can be accessed here and Schuylkill River Tank Farm Fact Sheet can be accessed here.

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this Facility are being conducted under the One Cleanup Program Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) jointly between EPA Region 3 and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).  Sunoco, Inc. submitted a Notice of Intent to Remediate (NIR) pursuant to of the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (Act 2) in October 2006. The MOA agreement was formalized on November 8, 2011 when EPA and PADEP signed a formal acceptance letter for participation in the program. For more information on the MOA, please visit PA One Clean Up Program Exit

EPA issued a RCRA corrective action permit to the Facility which requires the investigation of three Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). The three SWMUs include a past disposal area, a lead tank bottom treatment area, and a storm water pond that drains the tank farm area and discharges into the Schuylkill River via an on-site industrial waste treatment plant’s NPDES outfall. Two PADEP Consent Order and Agreements (1993 and 2003) require the Facility to address underground free phase hydrocarbon and to perform remediation activities.

The remedial program is based on a site wide cleanup approach.  EPA received a work plan for the site wide cleanup approach under the One Cleanup Program in November 2011. To aid in the investigations and possible remedial efforts, the refinery was divided into Areas of Interest (AOIs) based upon operational areas and risk-based factors. The former Sunoco, Inc. Point Breeze portion of the PES Facility consists of:

  • AOI 1 – Belmont Terminal, #1 Tank Farm, #2 Tank Farm Point Breeze,  
  • AOI 2 – Point Breeze Processing Area,
  • AOI 3 – Impoundment Area Point Breeze,
  • AOI 4 - #4 Tank Farm Area Point Breeze,
  • AOI 8 – Point Breeze Process Area North Yard, and
  • AOI 10 – Point Breeze Processing Area West Yard.

The Facility has performed remedial activities since 1997 including light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) and groundwater recovery as well as sewer ventilation and biofiltration. The most recent January 2019 Groundwater Remediation Status Report (GSRS) indicates that the total cumulative LNAPL that has been recovered is 255,139 gallons. A copy of the January 2019 GSRS can be found on the Facility’s Corrective Action Documents, Reports, and Photographs webpage here.

Site characterization activities have been completed and approved at five of the six AOIs. AOI 1 was approved on November 1, 2016, AOI 2 was approved on October 18, 2017, AOI 3 was approved on June 14, 2017, AOI 8 was approved on March 22, 2018, and AOI 10 was approved on November 10, 2016.

AOI 4 has not yet been approved due to insufficient offsite groundwater delineation at the southeast property boundary. Evergreen is currently addressing this deficiency.

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Site Description

Interactive map of Sunoco Point Breeze (Refinery & Marketing), Philadelphia, PA

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The Point Breeze facility, located on approximately 672 acres in Southwest Philadelphia, began as an oil distribution terminal in the 1860's and began batch processing crude oil in 1900. Gasoline went into full-scale production during World War II. Other past operations include production of chemicals such as acids and ammonia. Today the refinery produces only fuels and asphalts.

Corrective Action requires evaluation of legacy releases from Facilities that treated, stored, or disposed of hazardous wastes. In accordance with the contracted sale of the former Sunoco, Inc. Point Breeze Philadelphia Refinery to Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing, LLC., Sunoco retains all environmental liabilities for past environmental issues through September 8, 2012. Effective December 30, 2013, Philadelphia Refinery Operations, a series of Evergreen Resources Group, LLC (Evergreen) assumed Sunoco’s legacy environmental liabilities. A captive insurance policy was created to financially assure these environmental issues will be addressed. Environmental liabilities following September 8, 2012 are managed by PES.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main contaminants in soil and groundwater are hydrocarbons and lead. 

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

There are no formal EPA or PADEP reviewed and approved institutional controls implemented at this time.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The Facility use has been continued as a refinery since PES became the owner and operator on September 8, 2012.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3 with assistance from PADEP.

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