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ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery Wins Second-Place Gulf Guardian Award

11/30/2017
Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or R6Press@epa.gov

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery won a second-place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Business & Industry Category. The refinery is recognized for innovation in reducing nitrogen pollution in its wastewater.

Ben Scaggs, Director of Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem. Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.”  
 
ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery built new, innovative wastewater treatment tanks specifically designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen pollution in the wastewater, a multi-million-dollar investment. The tanks, which work by using different biological processes, can hold a combined 14 million gallons of wastewater at a time, equivalent to the amount of water held by 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The innovative tank-in-tank design allows for two separate zones of biological treatment, one without oxygen and one with oxygen. These two separate zones allow for greater reduction of nitrogen in the wastewater and overall improved wastewater treatment. Since starting the new system in July 2014, the refinery has reduced nitrogen by over 85 percent, as well as decreased solids and biochemical oxygen demand emissions.

Nitrogen in water contributes to nutrient pollution, which causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Excess algae harms water quality and decreases oxygen in water, which fish and other aquatic life need to survive. Each year the Gulf of Mexico is affected by large amounts of nutrient pollution, which contributes to a “dead zone” in the water where very little aquatic life can survive. 

ExxonMobil has a longstanding commitment to improving environmental performance of the refinery wastewater treatment facility. An active member of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Environmental Leadership Program Nutrient Workgroup for the past 15 years, the refinery received the 2003 Governor’s Environmental Leadership Award for Achievement in Outstanding Nutrient Reduction

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts. The awards ceremony will be held on November 30, 2017, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Alabama.  

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

For more about EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico

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