In April and May, typical rain events have rainfall upwards to 10 and 12 inches. Oil refineries are usually required to segregate oily waste water treatment from storm water basins. Additionally, the storm water basins generally require a spill control and prevention plan which include berms.
As recently as December 2009, a parish councilman reported receiving an email which indicated Murphy Oil was in the process of writing procedures for high water events; procedures one would expect already existed.
The community expects improvements for storm water capacity; improvements which prohibit use of neighborhood canals as an emergency discharge. The same improvements are expected by the community for the water discharge permit, also under review.
The state’s recent settlement with Murphy Oil for alleged water violations did not require any improvements. The EPA’s recent consent decree requires Murphy Oil improve its storm water management during rain events, but is vague as to how this will be achieved.
Problems have been the norm even before Hurricane Katrina, when 5.40 million gallons of waste water and storm water were discharged into the neighborhood during a waste water treatment plant bypass in July 2005. The Louisiana DEQ’s public service announcement reminds residents that just one gallon of motor oil from the oil change of a vehicle will pollute a million gallons of water. How much water in the estuary of the central wetlands is contaminated?
Take a look at this June 2009 rain event shown in the video around the 4:14 mark:
As they say in St. Bernard Parish: Today’s weather forecast is cloudy, with a chance of oil.
Posted by Concerned Citzens Around Murphy