The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued its first-ever agreed corrective action order outlining actions to be taken by a regulated company to further reduce air emissions.
Texas Petrochemicals, LLC has committed to invest $20 million in additional pollution controls to enhance the environmental performance at its plant near the Houston Ship Channel. The company has also agreed to pay the stipulated penalties if it does not reduce volatile organic compounds that result from emissions events during the five-year period of the order.
These emissions were revealed by fence line monitoring voluntarily installed by Texas Petrochemicals in 2006. On June 9, 2005, Texas Petrochemicals entered into a Voluntary Emissions Reduction Agreement with the state designed to reduce emissions of butadiene at the plant through the use of a flare gas recovery system, enhanced leak detection and repair efforts and the installation and operation of a fenceline monitoring system. The agreement also covered improved butadiene rail car loading and infrared camera emissions detection technology.
As a result of enhanced detection by the fence line monitors and Texas Petrochemicals' quicker response to emissions events, emissions from the flare decreased 90%. Volatile organic compounds, contributors to ozone, decreased from 230,000 lbs pa in 2004 to 26,000 lbs pa in 2007. Butadiene from the flare decreased from an average of 54,000 lbs pa to 5,300 lbs pa during the same period.