The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a $20,000 fine against Citgo Refining and Chemicals Company, L.P. this month, for failure to report two incidents of unauthorized emissions that occurred last year.

The $20,459 fine was issued by the commission June 5 against the Citgo Corpus Christi Refinery East Plant, located in the 1800 block of Nueces Bay Blvd.

According to TCEQ records, the unauthorized emissions were discovered during a routine records review in conducted in November. That review showed that on July 16, 2008, the plant had an unauthorized emission release of benzene, hydrogen sulfide, sweet gas oil, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide over a five minute period. The company also failed to report the incident within a mandated two-week period.

Additionally, in a March 27, 2008 incident that lasted 53 minutes, volatile organic compounds were released due to operator error, according to the TCEQ reports.

As part of an expedited settlement agreement reached between TCEQ and the company, $4,091 of the fine was deferred, $8,184 will be paid to the TCEQ and $8,184 will be used by the company for an environmental project.

According to documentation provided by the TCEQ, the company will money dedicated for an environmental program will be given to Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi to fund a program to check vehicles for polluting emissions.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company must implement measures to ensure proper reporting of future incidents, provide management and oversight of the personnel on duty during the July 2008 incident, ensure storage tanks have proper gauges and instrumentation and submit a report to TCEQ notifying the commission it has done so.

The company has already submitted a corrected report for the incident, according to the TCEQ.