Kapolei oil refineries get hefty fine for hazardous waste violations

It's an effort to reduce the amount of lead found in the nation's drinking water.
It's an effort to reduce the amount of lead found in the nation's drinking water.(Samantha Day)
Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 4:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The EPA fined Par Hawaii Refining on Thursday for hazardous waste violations and possible endangerment to public health at their oil refining facilities in West Oahu.

The facilities located on Komohana and Malakole streets in Kapolei received a combined $220,000 civil penalty over violations of the federal Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

In a March 2019 inspection, officials found violations in the Malakole Street facility’s risk management plans, including an outdated emergency shutdown procedure and inaccurate diagrams.

Inspectors said that accurate plans are necessary in order to help prevent chemical releases and minimize impacts to public health and the environment at facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances and flammable chemicals.

EPA inspectors also found violations in a September 2018 inspection at the Komohana Street for improper management of hazardous waste. Inspectors found an oily residue being released onto an unlined asphalt pad and into nearby soil. The contaminants of concern included hexavalent chromium and benzene, which can escape into the environment and groundwater through improper waste management practices. Federal regulations require the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment, and to prevent costly cleanups.

Under a settlement, Par Hawaii will carry out changes to reduce the risk of chemical accidents at the Malakole Street facility and conduct sampling at the Komohana Street facility to determine whether improper management of hazardous wastes contaminated local soil.

“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,” said Peter Boylan, Director of Government & Public Affairs for Par Hawaii.

“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.”

Amy Miller, who is the Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at EPA Pacific Southwest, said in a statement that “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.”

She added, “Companies that do not comply with federal requirements will face significant fines.”

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