The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a $6,000 fine against Flint Hills Resources in Corpus Christi last week, for air quality violations that occurred in September of last year.

According to information released by the TCEQ last week, the violation occurred at the company's west plant located on Suntide Road.

According to TCEQ documentation, on Sept. 19, 2009 the company failed to prevent an unauthorized release of 11.94 pounds of benzene over a period of 16 minutes. The release was caused by a leak in equipment that was being pressurized, documents show. That equipment has remained shut down since the incident, according to TCEQ documents.

The violation was found during a routine records review conducted by the agency on Dec. 9, 2009.

The company was fined a total of $6,025 for the incident, of which $1,205 was deferred because Flint Hills Resources agreed to an expedited settlement.

As part of that agreement, the company is required to submit documentation to the TCEQ explaining procedures for avoiding such incidents in the future.

The TCEQ noted the release did not pose a health hazard to the surrounding area.