Kapolei oil refining facilities fined over chemical safety, hazardous waste violations

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Par Hawaii Refining has been fined $219,638 over chemical safety and hazardous waste violations at its oil refining facilities in Kapolei.

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On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with the company for violating the federal Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at its oil refining facilities on Malakole and Komohana Streets.

“We are acting to ensure that oil refining facilities reduce the risk of releases of toxic substances, and properly store, manage and dispose of hazardous wastes to protect local communities and the environment,” Amy Miller, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a news release. 

As part of the settlement, Par Hawaii must carry out changes to reduce the risk of chemical accidents at its Malakole Street facility where EPA inspectors found violations of prevention requirements in 2019. These included process safety errors and operating procedures that were unclear and not current, such as an outdated emergency shutdown operating procedure in the control room.

The company must also conduct sampling at its Komohana Street facility to determine whether improper management of hazardous wastes contaminated local soil. In 2018, EPA inspectors found that the facility improperly managed hazardous waste from its refinery processes. They also documented an oily residue being released onto an unlined asphalt pad and into nearby soil.

“As an energy company and critical part of Hawaii’s energy infrastructure, we strive to conduct business in a safe and environmentally protective manner,” Peter Boylan, Par Hawaii’s Director of Government & Public Affairs for Par Hawaii, said in response to EPA’s news release. “We are pleased to have resolved the EPA’s concerns regarding certain alleged documentation deficiencies at our Par West Refinery, as well as the alleged release at our Par East Refinery, and refer you to the respective Consent Agreements for further details. While we disagree with the EPA’s assertions, these two settlements resolve this matter for the benefit of all parties, and we look forward to continuing our support of the state’s transition to its clean energy goals.”

This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative: Reducing Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities. Click here to learn more.

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