EPA raises leak tally

Aug. 27 ben­zene re­lease by Valero ‘un­der­es­ti­mated’

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Jor­dan Blum

Valero En­ergy “sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­es­ti­mated” the amount of can­cer-caus­ing ben­zene and other volatile com­pounds leaked from its Hous­ton re­fin­ery dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s tor­ren­tial rains, the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency said Thurs­day.

San An­to­nio-based Valero ini­tially re­ported the Aug. 27 leak, caused by the par­tially col­lapsed roof of a stor­age tank, re­leased an es­ti­mated 6.7 pounds of ben­zene and more than 3,350 pounds of un­spec­i­fied volatile com­pounds.

The EPA now says Valero be­lieves it sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­es­ti­mated the vol­umes leaked near East Hous­ton’s Manch­ester neigh­bor­hood. The EPA said Valero is pre­par­ing a new re­port that will show a “sub­stan­tial in­crease” in emis­sions from the in­ci­dent, but to­tals won’t be re­leased un­til the EPA says it has com­pleted its in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Valero did not re­spond to re­quests for comment.

In­de­pen­dent air mon­i­tors with the city of Hous­ton and the En­vi­ron­men­tal

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