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Delaware City Refinery settles with state over violations including fire

DelDOT traffic camera
A screenshot of the Wrangle Hill DelDOT traffic camera during the fire last February

State environmental regulators and the company that runs the Delaware City Refinery have reached a settlement over a series of air quality permit violations.

Those violations include some related to a fire at the refinery last February caused by failure of an inadequately winterized pipe. 

Regulators say the fire lasted nearly 13 hours and was followed by an even longer flaring event.  The entire episode released more than three tons of combined air pollutants. 

The settlement signed earlier this month calls for the Delaware City Refining Company to pay the state a total of $70,000 to resolve violations that occurred between Nov. 2018 and June 2019. Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) officials say the penalty takes into account a pollution control device outage as well as flaring events at the refinery. 

Last summer, the refinery agreed to pay the state close to $1 million in a separate settlement which covered violations from 2010 to 2018. That agreement also included permit changes which offered the refinery some operational flexibility. 

The refinery also agreed in 2018 to pay more than $200,000 in fines for illegally shipping crude oil — as well as exceeding discharge limits for wastewater and storm water over the course of several years.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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