The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced a settlement agreement with the Torrance Refining Co., which agreed to pay $125,000 in penalties for chemical safety and risk management violations.
The refinery has corrected the violations and will spend $219,000 to enhance chemical safety features, the EPA announced.
"It is critical for the refinery to maintain an up-to-date and accurate Risk Management Plan," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. "These actions ensure that facilities handling dangerous materials are minimizing potential impacts to the environment and the surrounding community."
According to the EPA, an inspection found that Torrance Refining violated the Clean Air Act's Chemical Accident Prevention Program due to inaccuracies in its Risk Management Plan, including failure to properly conduct a hazard assessment, properly document repairs on equipment and follow emergency operating procedures.
As part of the settlement, the Torrance Refinery has agreed to install a new automated water system to mitigate potential releases at its largest modified hydrofluoric acid tank, according to the federal agency.
The Clean Air Act's Risk Management Program requires facilities with significant quantities of toxic substances to develop and implement a Chemical Accident Prevention or Risk Management Program. When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical releases and minimize their potential impacts at facilities that store large amounts of hazardous substances and flammable chemicals.
Facilities are required to update and resubmit risk management plans at least once every five years. The plans are used by EPA to assess chemical risks to surrounding communities and to prepare for emergency responses, according to the agency.