EPA begins 3-month air pollution study near Hovensa refinery

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor


WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 17 – The US Environmental Protection Agency began a 3-month study of air pollution from Hovensa LLC’s US Virgin Islands refinery and other sources.

The federal environmental regulator installed air monitoring equipment to measure volatile organic compounds at three locations where the biggest air pollution impacts from the plant and other facilities in the area.

Hess Corp., which built the refinery in 1966, and Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Venezuela’s national oil company, jointly operate the plant. It has a 500,000 b/cd crude oil processing capacity and can store up to 32 million bbl of crude oil and products.

EPA said the study will provide information on whether air quality near the three monitoring locations poses health concerns, and to help guide strategies for reducing air pollution.

The Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources monitors particulate matter on St. Croix, where the refinery is located, while the refinery tracks its sulfur dioxide emissions, EPA noted. That information also will be reviewed, EPA said.

Following standard EPA monitoring protocols, air quality monitors at the three locations will collect outdoor air samples over 3 months. Results from all the locations will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to identified pollutants, EPA said. It expects to release the preliminary monitoring data by late spring and issue a final report this summer.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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