REGINA – Fire inspectors say corrosion in a single pipe was behind an explosion and fire at the Co-op refinery in Regina last fall.
Their report says a tear measuring almost 18 centimetres long triggered the initial explosion and subsequent smaller ones.
They say the problem was in a diesel fuel processing area and had been getting worse since 2008 when practices at the plant changed.
Co-op officials say tests hadn’t shown any issues with the pipe.
Seven contract employees that were working on a $2-billion upgrade and expansion were sent to hospital and two more were treated for burns at the plant.
Another 1,400 people had to leave the refinery after the blast that triggered a huge fireball that could be seen all over the city.
Co-op says 80 per cent of the piping in the troubled area has been replaced since the fire and 19 other measures have been taken to increase testing.
The plant had another fire on a much smaller scale in May when an overheated crude oil pump ignited. There were no injuries.
The U.S. Navy has agreed to pay a $5,855 penalty to settle alleged underground storage tank (UST) violations at its Building NH94, located at 7918 Blandy St., Norfolk, Va., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
There are three 25,000-gallon underground storage tanks at this facility containing diesel fuel. Each UST is required to be tested every three years to make sure the tank is not corroded and that the corrosion protection system is operating properly. During a March 2011 inspection, the inspectors found that these tanks had not been tested since 2004.
The $5,855 settlement penalty reflects cooperation of the U.S. Navy with EPA in the investigation and resolution of this matter. The Navy has certified its compliance with applicable UST requirements and the tanks were tested for corrosion on April 4, 2011.
Underground storage tanks must be tested to prevent leaks, because the greatest potential threat from a leaking UST is contamination of groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. These leaks can threaten public safety and health as well as the environment because UST systems contain hazardous and toxic chemicals. Cleaning up petroleum leaks is difficult and usually expensive. Federal regulations ensure that USTs are structurally sound because it is easier and less costly to prevent leaks before they happen.