The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued two fines totaling more than $21,000 recently against Flint Hills Resources in Corpus Christi.
The first fine, for $15,876, came as the result of a records review in July 2009 that found unauthorized emissions released by the Flint Hills Corpus Christi West Plant on Suntide Road.
Those records indicated that on March 25, 2009, 10,553 pounds of unauthorized carbon monixide was released over a period of nearly 14 hours when a steam turbine shut down because of human error.
Two days later, additional unauthorized emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrogen sulfide were released over a period of 18 hours because of a faulty pressure transmitter, according to TCEQ documentation. Additionally, the company was cited for failing to report the incident within 24 hours after it was detected.
The TCEQ documentation noted the company took steps in October 2009 to correct the mechanical issues that led to the incidents, and provided training to employees to help prevent future occurrences. Because the company agreed to an expedited settlement, $3,175 of the fine was deferred by the TCEQ.
The second incident occurred in May 2009 at the company's Corpus Christi East Refinery on Nueces Bay Boulevard. In that incident, a worker was injured and a small fire erupted when fibrous material became lodged in a pipe. Material including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monixide were released over a period of an hour.
TCEQ documentation notes repairs were made to the facility the next day, and policies at the company were revised to prevent future problems. The TCEQ fined Flint Hills $5,700 for the incident, although $1,140 of that was deferred because the company agreed to an expedited settlement.