Thirty things we don't know about Sun Oil's Refinery in Oregon, Ohio

June 7, 2004
Rachael Belz, Associate Director
Ohio Citizen Action

Sun Oil flares Neighbors have consistently complained about the refinery's pollution, odors, noises, explosions and, too often, the sickness that results. There are many things we don't know yet that Sun needs to explain, and make changes to correct:

1. How often is Sun legally allowed to flare?
2. Why does Sun flare almost every day?
3. Isn't flaring a 'last resort' so the refinery 'doesn't explode' as neighbors have been told by refinery officials?
4. Doesn't flaring so frequently tell us that Sun is consistently operating in a 'crisis' mode?
5. Why do Sun's flares sometimes go out? Doesn't that mean that sulfur dioxide is pouring from the plant unchecked?
6. Why does black smoke pour out of Sun's flares at times? Is this legal?
7. Has Sun looked into 'enclosed cascading flares' which is a more efficient type of flare? If so, why isn't Sun using these types of flares?
8. How old are the two flares at Sun?
9. What maintenance or upgrades have been done to the flares at Sun?
10. What, if anything, has Sun done to reduce the millions of pounds of sulfur dioxide, particulates, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and volatile organic compounds that pour out of the refinery each year?
11. Why does Sun only talk with certain neighbors about some of their toxic releases, but not about the worst and largest pollution and odor problem -- millions of pounds of sulfur dioxide pouring from the plant?
12. Why does Sun have so many 'upsets' or 'malfunctions' each year?
13. What upgrades has Sun made to the plant? What upgrades are planned and under what timeline?
14. Does Sun recover gas and use it as a fuel instead of just flaring?
15. What has Sun done to reduce the loud, jet-like noises at the plant?
16. What did Sun do during their maintenance 'turnaround' time this Spring, and how will it help reduce these problems?
17. Why are there alarms going off every couple of days?
18. Has Sun ever compensated neighbors for cracked foundation and broken windows due to explosions and vibrations from the plant?
19. Why are there often two explosions per night: one at 12:30 or 3:30 a.m. and another at 8 a.m.?
20. Why are the dust, noise, explosions, odors and pollution from Sun worse at night and on the weekends?
21. Does Sun conduct monthly, or at least quarterly, valve inspections to insure they aren't leaking? How can Sun prove that valves are not leaking, or have been repaired?
22. Why doesnt Sun monitor the pollution levels reaching the community and kids, especially at the fenceline and at key hotspots like Coy Elementary School?
23. Does Sun use vapor recovery in loading and unloading areas?
24. Does Sun do quarterly or monthly leak detections?
25. Does Sun monitor pipelines to insure they aren't leaking, or to catch leaks quickly?
26. Does Sun use double seals wherever possible to reduce the possibility of single seals failing at connection points in pumps?
27. Does Sun have floating roofs on all tanks like they do on the xylene tank?
28. Does Sun use gas collection and treatment systems to gather emissions from Pressure Relief Valves?
29. Does Sun sit on a plume of gas and oil? If so, what are they doing to remedy?
30. Does Sun have a siren system to warn the surrounding community in the event of an emergency?