No complaints filed over Tuesday Marathon Refinery smoke

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A practice called flaring can be seen at the Marathon Petroleum Refinery

Photo by / Ruben Espinoza

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has not received any complaints related to an event at the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in Central El Paso, a spokeswoman says.

Residents observed a dark cloud of smoke emitting into the air on Tuesday morning prompting concern.

A refinery spokeswoman called the incident flaring, which they described as a necessity due to operating conditions inside the facility. The flares functioned properly and the refinery deployed air-monitoring resources in areas adjacent to the facility, she added.

The TCEQ, Texas’ leading environmental protection agency, received a preliminary report from the refinery that a wet gas compressor tripped, resulting in an estimated release of over 2,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide. Also, 26 pounds of hydrogen sulfide, 47 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 328 pounds of carbon monoxide and 508 pounds of volatile organic compounds from the South Main Flare, the report shows.

A spokeswoman with the TCEQ said the agency will conduct an investigation of reported emissions to determine if findings are within compliance of state law once refinery officials complete a report of the event. And, review the quantity and impact of the emissions event on human health and the environment.

“An initial notification contains preliminary information and estimated emissions for the emissions event,” a spokeswoman said. “Estimated emissions may be revised in the final notification (due two weeks from the end of the event) after the entity has fully evaluated the incident.”

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