St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (March 3, 2021) – Last month, Limetree Bay experienced an upset in the refinery at Flare Unit #8. This incident resulted in a release of steam and oil which traveled northwest. The release occurred while Operations was quenching one of the Coke drums, and the quenching operation was stopped to end the release.
Initial investigations did not reveal any impact beyond the refinery’s fence line. Once Limetree was made aware that there was impact to the community, our environmental teams were immediately dispatched to neighboring areas to assess that impact.
After further investigation, Limetree’s environmental team was able to field verify the area impacted by the release, which was determined to be the Clifton Hill community. While the release did not present a health hazard to the public, Limetree determined that oil droplets were present on some vehicles and roofs in the area, and implemented a plan to clean those roofs and vehicles.
Limetree executed its response plan and began cleaning cars immediately. The response plan included inspection and assessment of cars, roofs and properties, and assisting in disconnecting cisterns from roofs. In addition, Limetree retained a third party to sample cistern water for oil and grease, and this data is being analyzed in an EPA-certified lab in Florida (PACE Lab). To the residents whose cisterns were disconnected, Limetree provided drinking water on a daily basis, which was delivered to their door. Limetree also went door-to-door to all the residents in Clifton Hill and responded to all the complaints received. An area of impact was delineated on a map, and the plan for cisterns is to empty, clean and refill with potable water all cisterns whose lab results show a detection. Residents whose lab results show non-detect, will have their cisterns topped off with potable water.
All applicable regulatory agencies were notified at the time of the incident, and Limetree continues to work with both local and federal agency partners to ensure the continued safety of its personnel, the public and environment.