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EPA Orders HOVENSA to Improve Plans to Prevent Chemical Releases and Promptly Detect Problems

Release Date: 08/25/2011
Contact Information: John Martin (212) 637-3662 (office), martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an order to HOVENSA L.L.C. in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands requiring the refinery to make numerous improvements to its programs and plans that help prevent chemical releases and provide prompt detection and response when incidents and releases do occur. The company violated provisions of the federal Clean Air Act related to the development of risk management programs and the submission of risk management plans for facilities that handle flammable and toxic chemicals.

Under the Clean Air Act, facilities that manufacture, process, use, store or handle regulated flammable and toxic chemicals above specified levels are required to develop risk management programs and submit risk management plans. Facilities are required to update and resubmit their risk management plans at least once every five years.

"There have been too many chemical releases and other potentially dangerous incidents at the HOVENSA facility in recent years, including three since January 2011 alone,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Equipment at the HOVENSA facility needs to be properly maintained and workers well trained to protect people living nearby from exposure to dangerous chemicals.”

EPA discovered the violations at HOVENSA’s refinery in St. Croix during a January 2011 inspection. While HOVENSA does have a risk management program and a plan in place, it was found to be inadequate. Among the violations identified in the order were: failure to maintain plant equipment; take steps to identify problems before they occur; provide training to employees on the control of hazards during operations; and ensure that established operating procedures were being followed. EPA is requiring HOVENSA to address these and other violations according to a schedule laid out in the order.

To view this order and to learn more about HOVENSA, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/waste/hovensa/docs.html

For more information about Risk Management Plan requirements visit: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/rmp/

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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