The EPA has released a new rule that updates the air pollution standards in regards to emissions from petroleum refineries in an effort to ensure a healthy environment for communities that are near such facilities.
The goal of these changes is to control the toxic and potentially carcinogenic air pollutants. This regulatory update aims to ensure petroleum refineries are using the most up to date and effective monitoring and control techniques so that in the event that standard levels of emissions are exceeded corrective action can be taken to protect these communities.
One of the most important changes is the requirement of fence-line monitoring. This is something that has never been done before and is being implemented not only to inform and provide better protection to the communities that are close to refineries but to also strengthen emission controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks and delayed coker operations. Continuous monitoring of benzene concentrations along the fence-line of petroleum refineries will insure the facilities are managing toxic emissions properly. The fence-line monitors are required to encircle the entire facility so that even low levels of benzene can be detected. The results of such monitoring will then be posted to the EPA website. Additionally, storage tanks and delayed coking units will be required to reduce emissions as well.
Once this rule is fully implemented the toxic air pollutants will be reduced by 5,200 tons per year and the volatile organic compounds will be reduced by 50,000 tons per year. It is important to note that the mandatory, but cost-effective, changes will have no effect on the cost of petroleum products.