Western Refining Spews Potentially Harmful Gases
POSTED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 4:07pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 9:34pm
EL PASO- Dangerous gases are still spewing into El Paso’s air after a refinery accident Tuesday night.
The lightning storm knocked out power at Western Refining, and since then the plant has intentionally turned up the heat, burning crude oil which it says cannot go back into storage.
As a result, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide have been burning and belching for the past 45 hours. NewsChannel 9 is getting messages from people miles away from the refinery complaining about strong odors. The gases have been pouring from these flares at Western Refining since Tuesday night. People smell it and naturally they're concerned.
It’s started around 8:30 Tuesday night when the severe thunderstorms pounding the borderland caused a power failure at western refining in the lower valley As a result, the refinery had to shut down until Wednesday night. It also had to start burning crude oil from the flares. Tens of thousands of pounds of gases are involved.
A company spokesperson says there is no danger to the public. He says the strong odor is actually from liquid being stored in tanks.
As of now, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring the situation.
Here's a list of the chemicals being emitted from the refinery and links to what health concerns the chemicals raise:
Volatile Organic Compounds: