EPA raises leak tally
Aug. 27 benzene release by Valero ‘underestimated’
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