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EPA TESTING FINDS NO CHEMICALS IN CISTERNS FOLLOWING DECEMBER 2010 CHEMICAL RELEASE FROM HOVENSA OIL REFINERY

Release Date: 02/04/2011
Contact Information: (Media only) Elias Rodriguez, (732) 672-5520 cell, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the results of samples taken from cisterns that were potentially affected by the December 9, 2010 release of chemicals into the air from the HOVENSA refinery in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The samples did not detect the material released into the air during the incident in any of the cisterns tested. EPA has determined that the cisterns do not pose a risk to people’s health. EPA shared its findings with the U. S. Virgin Islands Department of Health, the island’s lead health agency and with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

HOVENSA collected samples from 45 cisterns in the areas of Clifton Hill and Fredensborg to determine if the air release from the facility had impacted them. The cisterns were tested for chemicals that were released into the air from the facility on December 9, including total petroleum hydrocarbons and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. The HOVENSA sampling was monitored by EPA in partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Environmental Planning and Natural Resources to ensure that proper sample collection procedures were used. The HOVENSA samples were analyzed by a Louisiana State University laboratory that analyzes samples for the United States Coast Guard.

EPA performed its own analysis of 24 of the samples collected by HOVENSA to confirm the accuracy of the Louisiana State University sample results. The EPA analysis was conducted at its laboratory in New Jersey. Results from all analyses confirm that the material released during the incident was not detected in any of the sampled cisterns.

If you have questions regarding the environmental aspects of this activity or would like additional information, please contact:

Natalie Loney
Community Involvement Coordinator
290 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866
(212) 637-3639 or toll free at 800-346-5009
loney.natalie@epa.gov

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