Marcus Hook Refinery
The refinery in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania produces upwards of 178,000 barrels of crude oil each day of the year. The plant is owned by Sunoco, Inc. They have had partial ownership of the plan for many years, but took over as the sole owners on January 1st, 2008.
The year 2005 brought some trouble for Sunoco, Inc. from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Pennsylvania, and the United States Department of Justice. According to the charges, the refinery in Marcus Hook and three other separate Sunoco facilities were not up to code with health and safety regulations. Each plant was deemed to be an unsafe work environment, and a gross polluter.
As a result, Sunoco was ordered to spend over $285 million in repairs and modifications to their facilities. The company is also expected to spend $3.6 million locally for environmentally productive projects, and another $500,000 in fees for the City’s Department of Public Health, Division of Air Management Services. In addition to the fines, Sunoco had to improve and install new equipment to improve the level of pollution they produce, install monitors that can detect leaks and small emissions within their pipelines, take steps to reduce benzene emissions and devise a plan to put a stop to gas flares. These results were brought forth after a five year investigation.
In March of 2006 an explosion rocked the refinery and led to a large fire that took more than an hour to bring completely under control. One person received minor injuries as a result of the incident. Little damage was done to the plant itself, and it was able to resume operation soon after the blaze was put out.
Another minor incident that affected the plant was a brief power outage in April of 2008. The outage lasted for only five hours, but it was not until some time later that the plant was able to start their equipment again. Prior to returning to work, all systems had to be checked to be certain that everything was in good operating condition and that it was safe to restart the refinery equipment.
A more serious issue affected the plant many years back - the presence of asbestos. Asbestos was commonly used in many different products before it was found to be highly toxic in nature. Exposure to asbestos products often leads to a serious form of cancer known as mesothelioma, and severe respiratory problems. Former plant workers who were employed while these products were found on the premises should let their healthcare provider know the circumstances, and follow their advice regarding what steps should be taken.
Last modified: December 09, 2009.