Lake Charles Refinery - Citgo
Lake Charles, Louisiana is home to two oil refineries. One is owned by Citgo, and it has the ability to produce up to 320,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis. The plant also produces 10,000 barrels of wax and lubrication oils each day. It is the sixth biggest refinery in all of America and it primarily produces gasoline. Construction on the plant began in 1942 and was completed in 1944.
As the plant began to manufacture petroleum products, many products such as rubber gaskets were put into place throughout the facility that contained the material asbestos. This was commonly used for many years, but investigations into the material proved it to be highly toxic. Asbestos has the ability to become lodged within a person's respiratory system and do a great amount of damage. It can also lead to a sometimes terminal form of cancer called mesothelioma\. When the dangers of asbestos were discovered, every product from the plant that contained the hazardous material had to be removed. This process should only be done by a certified professional, because attempting to move asbestos in an improper manner can cause tiny particles to break off and float freely in the air where they can be inhaled and cause massive internal damage. Workers at the Lake Charles refinery who were employed while any products containing asbestos were present should notify their doctor about their possible exposure immediately.
Asbestos was not the only dangerous threat that came from this Louisiana facility. In September of 2001a fire broke out at the plant. No one sustained any major injuries during the blaze, but the flames roared on for an entire night and into the afternoon of the following day. Crews worked tirelessly to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading to other sections of the refinery.
Another fire hit the plant in February of 2008 when crude oil ignited at a site where several contract employees were at work. 4 people received burns and the entire section of the refinery had to be evacuated. This blaze came only a few days after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the facility on 15 separate counts that included allowing illegal levels of pollution to be produced and having unsafe safety regulations at the plant. OSHA fined the plant on a charge of not providing a safe working environment.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.