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NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Sunoco Inc. will pay $762,150 in civil penalties for air quality permit violations at its petroleum refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County, Pa., according to Environmental Protection Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola.
"Sunoco emitted nearly twice the permitted limit of particulate matter and an average of four times the permitted level of ammonia from a unit at this facility for more than one year," Feola said. "We take these violations very seriously and are working with Sunoco to correct the problems."
Testing conducted by Sunoco in January 2006 revealed elevated particulate levels from a fluid catalytic cracking unit, a device used by refineries to break down hydrocarbons in a chemical process. Follow-up testing in June and October 2007 showed inconsistency in the unit's particulate emissions, passing one day and failing the next. The cracking unit was found to be emitting ammonia at an average concentration four times the permitted level.
Although a 2006 federal consent decree required Sunoco to install a wet gas scrubber unit by the end of June 2013 to help control particulate matter, the company is required to comply with the existing particulate standard in the meantime.
Other problems noted include the release of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, reporting violations, failure to meet testing requirements and storage tank and visible emission violations.
Under the terms of its EPA agreement, Sunoco must test the cracking unit for particulate matter emissions by July 30 of each year until the new scrubber is installed. The company also has agreed to a $500 per day stipulated penalty if it fails to meet ongoing testing deadlines or if it fails to pay the $762,150 civil penalty to the state's Clean Air Fund within 30 days.
Sunoco paid $123,730 in penalties and emission fees in October 2005, settling violations noted during a facilitywide compliance evaluation conducted by the DEP beginning in May 2003. The company also paid an $825,236 penalty in May 2005 for violations noted earlier that year.
In June 2006, Sunoco entered into a federal consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania DEP and other city and state environmental agencies for violations at the Marcus Hook refinery, as well as the company's refineries in Philadelphia; Tulsa, Okla.; and Toledo, Ohio.
Last week, Sunoco issued its 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report, marking the 17th consecutive year the company publicly reported its environmental performance.
In 1993, Sunoco became the first Fortune 500 company to endorse the Ceres Principles, a 10-point code of environmental conduct. " Sunoco believes that excellence in health, environment and safety (HES) goes hand-in-hand with financial performance," the company said in a statement.
The report provides information about environmental performance. employee and contractor safety, energy use, climate change, product stewardship, security and business continuity, workforce preparedness and community engagement . The report, which uses the Global Reporting Initiative Reporting Framework Version 3 or G3, is available at http://hesreport.sunocoinc.com.
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