U.S. EPA penalizes Lupton, Arizona refinery for violating Clean Air Act chemical safety requirements
Under settlement, facility owner and operator will pay fine, make safety improvements at facility
LUPTON, AZ. – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Lupton Petroleum Products Inc. and the former owner of a refinery for violating the Clean Air Act. This action protects human health and the environment by reducing the risk of accidental chemical releases. Lupton Petroleum Products Inc. and the facility’s former owner will pay a penalty of $279,472 and restore the Lupton, Arizona facility to compliance with federal law on an established schedule. The facility is a small petroleum refining facility where Lupton Petroleum Products refines transmix, an unusable mixture of diesel and gasoline, back into diesel and gasoline.
In September 2016 EPA inspectors found violations of the Clean Air Act ’s General Duty Clause including:
- Failure to conduct a hazard review.
- Failure to identify hazards associated with the discharge of pressure relief valves.
- Failure to install isolation valves around pumps.
- Failure to identify and train employees about various electrical hazards.
Adherence to the General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act helps decrease the likelihood of chemical releases at facilities that store extremely hazardous substances and minimize the consequences of accidental releases. Some of the identified deficiencies contributed to a release and ignition of flammable substances resulting in a January 26, 2016, fire at the facility.
“It is paramount that facilities properly manage the handling of extremely hazardous substances to prevent dangerous incidents such as the Lupton fire,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, Amy Miller. “The petroleum industry needs to properly manage substances like transmix, diesel, and gasoline or face significant Clean Air Act penalties.”
The facility’s incident investigation report on the fire indicated that an employee was using a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess gasoline from one of the distillation towers when the hydrocarbons ignited. The fire resulted in minor injuries to an employee, required response by firefighters, and caused significant damage to facility equipment.
To find information on General Duty Clause requirements under the Clean Air Act, visit: https://www.epa.gov/rmp/general-duty-clause-under-clean-air-act-section-112r1