ADEQ Director Owens, Attorney General Goddard Announce $50,000 Fine for Air Pollution Violations

Phoenix, AZ – October 21, 2004
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a settlement with Equilon Enterprises, LLC, dba Shell Oil Products U.S. for violations of state air pollution control laws at its El Mirage facility. Equilon/Shell has agreed to pay $50,000 in fines for violations that occurred between September 2001 and January 2004.

Equilon/Shell operated a facility that distilled transmix, a mixture of pipeline derived diesel fuel and gasoline, into commercial grade gasoline and diesel fuel, from the time that Equilon/Shell purchased the facility from Valley Refining, LLC, in September 2001 until operations ceased in March 2004.

In May 2002, Equilon/Shell notified ADEQ that there were excess emissions standards from the facility caused by the improper operation and maintenance of internal floating roofs on gasoline and transmix storage tanks designed to control the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The improper operation and maintenance practices originally used by Valley Refining, LLC, were continued by Equilon/Shell until April 2002. ADEQ officials estimate that 11.8 tons of uncontrolled excess VOCs were emitted to the atmosphere. In May 2003 ADEQ fined Valley Refining $75,000 for these violations.

“These are serious violations of Arizona’s air quality laws that put the health and safety of our citizens at risk,” Owens said. “We are committed to vigorous enforcement of our air quality laws to protect our children and families.”

The settlement includes the requirement that Equilon/Shell or any prospective purchaser install alarms on emergency pressure relief bypass valves on storage tanks to detect potential excess VOC emissions, and conduct inspections of the facility’s flare to ensure self-ignition and proper operation as a VOC emissions control device.

“This case is a good example of how the self-reporting program should work,” Goddard said. “The company brought the violations to the state’s attention; fixed the problem, and agreed to fines appropriate with the seriousness of the violations.”