The Department of Toxic Substances Control announced Wednesday that it will require Torrance Refining Co. to pay $150,000 in penalties for illegally storing hazardous waste at its oil refinery.
The Los Angeles-based company will face additional penalties unless it meets deadlines for recycling or disposing of the hazardous waste, according to the state. The penalties and recycling and disposal requirements are included in a settlement agreement between the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Torrance Refining.
The refinery — which covers 750 acres at 3700 W. 190th St. in Torrance — responded that it has been cooperating with DTSC to address its processing and storage of oil-bearing materials — known as OBM.
“We are disappointed with the DTSC’s characterization of the OBM, which can be legally recycled at the refinery and is not classified as an on-site hazardous waste,” the company said in a statement. “As part of the settlement agreement, we are in the process of recycling the OBM at the refinery and will properly dispose of any remaining materials as agreed.”
“In a spirit of cooperation and to avoid a lengthy appeals process, we agreed to enter into this settlement so that we can focus on running the Torrance Refinery in a safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible manner,” according to the refinery.
Formerly owned by ExxonMobil, the company refines gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuels, liquefied petroleum gases, coke and sulfur.
“We take these violations extremely seriously,” department Director Barbara A. Lee said in a statement. “This agreement puts in place strict deadlines to ensure that the hazardous waste is removed in a timely manner. These actions are necessary to protect public health and the environment.”
A joint inspection by the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that Torrance Refining had illegally accumulated 364 bins of hazardous waste, each with 20-cubic yard capacity, among more than a half-dozen violations of state and federal hazardous waste laws, the agency said.
Some of that waste had accumulated up to 26 years ago, an earlier probe by the South Coast Air Quality Management District determined.
The refinery did not have the necessary equipment to recycle or process the hazardous waste, and it stored the bins without a permit or authorization from the state. The department ordered the company to remove or recycle the hazardous waste in March.
Under the agreement, the contents of at least 179 of the bins must be recycled or disposed of by July 31 and at least 92 more bins must be recycled or disposed of by Oct. 31. The contents of the remaining bins must be recycled or disposed of by Dec. 31.
If Torrance Refining does not meet each of the three deadlines, the refinery will be required to pay a penalty of $6,000 per bin, the department said.
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