Krotz Springs Refinery
The town of Krotz Springs, Louisiana was established by C W Krotz, who moved to the state to search for oil. He put up an oil rig, but only found water at his location. Instead of giving up, Krotz bottled the water and sold it nationally. OIl was later discovered in Krotz Springs, and today an oil refinery in the town is run by Alon USA Energy. The facility's daily output ability is 85,000 barrels of crude oil.
Before Alon USA Energy operated the plant, it was owned by Valero Energy Corporation. Valero sold the refinery in July of 2008 for for $333 million and an earn-out provision that is thought to hold a $100 million value. Prior to Alon taking over the facility, Valero ran into some trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for high levels of pollution at this and several of their other plants. The EPA cited Valero for high emission levels of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, and set a penalty fine of $5.5 million. This amount was in addition to an expected $700 million that was to be spent on improving emission controls and upgrading safety equipment at all of the plants that were being investigated.
The Krotz Springs refinery also suffered through another ordeal earlier in its history. This came from several industrial products that were in use at the facility. These items contained a naturally occurring material called asbestos. Asbestos was in use for many years, and was even highly prized for its ability to survive great temperatures, but it was later found to be a major health hazard. While the products that were made from asbestos could endure the heat, over time they would start to crack and fall apart. When this happened, small bits of the toxic material would be released into the air, where they could be inhaled by unsuspecting plant employees. It would then remain within their respiratory systems and do major damage, and often even develop into a case of asbestos cancer.
It can take years for any sign of illness or disease that was brought on by exposure to asbestos to become noticeable. Many employees of the refinery may already be dealing with serious health issues, and others may not yet be aware of their still developing health problems. Every person who worked at the plant should contact their doctor as soon as possible to be checked out for any signs of cancer or other illnesses that may have been caused by asbestos.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.