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EPA Fines Western Refining Southwest, Inc. for Illegally Disposing Hazardous Waste and Improper Sampling

Release Date: 11/23/2010
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Joe Hubabrd at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(DALLAS – November 23, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined Western Refining Southwest, Inc. for failing to adequately monitor benzene discharges and illegally disposing hazardous waste. The company is in noncompliance of a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) filed in Aug. 2009.

“It is important to everyone that companies are following proper protocols needed to protect the environment and public health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “When facilities fail to follow the rules, EPA will act quickly to ensure compliance with the law.”

Western has received two noncompliance letters from the EPA within the past two months. The first letter of noncompliance dated Sept. 24, 2010, was for improper sampling on Aug. 20-22, 2010 and exceeding benzene levels in wastewater on June 24-25 and Aug. 23, 2010.

The second letter dated Nov. 1, 2010, related to similar offenses of improper collection of samples on Sept. 3-7 and improper disposal of hazardous waste on Sept. 30, 2010.

Western has 30 days to pay levied fines after of receiving notification letters.

Western operates a petroleum refinery in Jamestown, New Mexico, approximately 17 miles east of Gallup. The refinery had multiple violations stemming from its storage and treatment of hazardous waste containing benzene, a human carcinogen present in petroleum.

In 2009, EPA and the New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED) brought the violations to the attention of Western. Western agreed to pay $734,008, cease all discharges of benzene and close two aeration lagoons that received hazardous waste.

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/nov2010.html


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