Calumet to pay penalty for EPA violations, improve monitoring - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Calumet to pay penalty for EPA violations, improve monitoring system

Calumet, formerly Atlas, is a crude refinery and petroleum products facility in Shreveport. Calumet, formerly Atlas, is a crude refinery and petroleum products facility in Shreveport.

Calumet has been ordered to pay a penalty and make improvements to its monitoring system in the event of toxic air releases.

According to a statement released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday, the sanctions come as the result of an unannounced inspection of the Shreveport crude refinery and petroleum products facility in August of 2011 that found "numerous violations related to past explosions and the facility's emergency response program."

Under the settlement, Calumet Shreveport Lubricant and Waxes, L.L.C. has agreed to install a fence-line monitoring system, Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), with a value of at least $248,000.

The system will include 32 additional sensors covering all sides of the perimeter of the facility and monitor for hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and flammable gas lower explosive limit. 

The Risk Management Program is designed to prevent chemical accidents and releases through proper preparedness, response and prevention. The program requires that facilities producing, processing and storing extremely hazardous substances have a duty to identify hazards associated with an accidental release, design and maintain a safe facility and minimize risks associated with accidental releases.

EPA's goals include focusing on cleaner air and healthier communities by improving compliance among industries with significant potential for accidental releases near communities.

Calumet will also continue to host quarterly community meetings with local citizens to discuss environmental concerns and the results of the fence-line monitoring.  

The facility is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of filing the consent agreement.

State Representative Barbara Norton said she has been visiting area refineries, and will continue to do so. She said is pleased with these improvements, and added, "I would like to continue to see these companies make improvements to keep our community safe."

Local environmental group, Resident's For Air Neutralization, is also grateful for the changes. The group's President, Vilma White, said, "I feel like this is only a minor improvement, but I am very grateful for it. I'm glad to know that they are moving in the right direction to keeping our community safe."

KSLA is expecting a response from Calumet, but so far, here's what spokesman Lyndon Johnson said, "we are waiting for corporate to respond to that information and then we will be able to give you a response."

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