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Thursday, August 23, 2007

BP: No increased lake discharges

This is a press release today from BP:

BP Pledges No Increase in Lake Michigan
Discharge Limits at Whiting Refinery

Warrenville, IL, August, 23, 2007- BP America today promised to operate its Whiting refinery to meet the lower discharge limits contained in the refinery’s previous wastewater treatment permit.

“We have participated in an open and transparent permitting process with the State of Indiana and obtained a valid permit that meets all regulatory standards and is protective of water quality and human health. Even so, ongoing regional opposition to any increase in discharge permit limits for Lake Michigan creates an unacceptable level of business risk for this $3.8 billion investment,” said BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone.

BP has obtained regulatory approval to increase average daily discharge limits for ammonia from 1,030 to 1,584 pounds per day and for total suspended solids (TSS) from 3646 to 4925 pounds per day to modernize the Whiting refinery and greatly increase the amount of Canadian heavy crude it can process.

During the next 18 months, BP will continue to seek issuance of other permits, continue project design and explore options for operating within the lower discharge limits. BP America notified the State of Indiana of its decision late yesterday afternoon and reiterated its dedication to the proposed refinery expansion.

“We are committed to this project. It is important for the nation, it is important for the Midwest, and it is important to BP and to the thousands of BP employees in the State of Indiana,” Malone said. “We are going to work hard to make this project succeed.”

“We will not make use of the higher discharge limits in our new permit,” said BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone. “We’re not aware of any technology that will get us to those limits but we’ll work to develop a project that allows us to do so. If necessary changes to the project result in a material impact to project viability, we could be forced to cancel it.”

BP has already agreed to participate with the Purdue Calumet Water Institute and the Argonne National Laboratory in a joint effort to identify and evaluate emerging technologies with the potential to improve wastewater treatment across the Great Lakes. Malone announced today that BP will provide a $5 million grant to Purdue University to help underwrite the research effort.

The $3.8 billion project is designed to increase the amount of Canadian heavy crude processed at the more than 400,000 barrel-per-day refinery from 30 to 90 per cent and also creates the capacity to increase production of clean fuels by 1.7 million gallons a day. The project will create 2000 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs.


Anonymous said...

Will the recently issued BP environmental permit be modified to the lower levels by IDEM?

Does this mean lowered Ammonia and TSS discharges? Does this mean no mixing zone? No exemption on the Mercury requirement?

Trojan Horse said...

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't current BP permit disallow the supposed increase until 2011?

So what is different than before?

Anonymous said...

Alliance For The Great Lakes Commends BP, Seeks Assurances on Pollution Levels

Anonymous said...

BP must seek an amended discharge permit that codifies its pledge.

Rich Trzupek said...

As much as the critics hate when somebody confuses the issue with facts, here’s the way discharge permits work in the real world kids:

An NPDES permit contains a bunch of limits, one of which is the maximum daily discharge limit. This is the limit that Rahm and friends have been having a heart attack about. EPA sets that limit in recognition that there are times when wastewater treatment plant capacity gets swamped, during extreme rainfall events. You may have noticed that we get those once in a while.

When that happens, you have an extreme volume of water that can overwhelm the treatment ponds and tanks at a wastewater treatment plant. So now the treatment plant operator has a choice: 1) dump raw sewage into the waterway, or 2) process the stuff a little faster, and slightly less efficiently, before everything overflows. The maximum daily limit is set in order to encourage the latter remedy. It does not represent everyday practice.

Take a look, for example, at MWRD’s Calumet treatment plant. They are allowed to discharge over 89,000 pounds per day of solids in their wastewater, per their maximum discharge limit. They don’t actually do that. According to their 2006 discharge report, they averaged a little over 12,000 pounds per day. That’s the way everyone, including BP, operates their treatment plants. (And no, I purposely didn’t look up BP’s 2006 report, because it would be nice to see the critics put a little time into research too).

Maximum discharge limits recognize reality (mother nature can be a bitch) and they encourage sound environmental management (don’t dump the sludge, just process it a little faster). It’s a tool that helps prevent people from dumping raw sewage into our waterways and creating those lovely little fecal coliform events that the city is so famous for. (Not that Richie Daley seems to remember that…)

That is all. Hysteria may now resume.

Anonymous said...

Business guru and author Peter Drucker understood that a business could contribute nothing to society if it wasn't profitable. But he also believed that free enterprise was defensible only if it was good for society.

Anonymous said...

BP has stated it will report back to the US Congress on September 1st regarding the BP pollution permit dispute.

Indiana Governor's "review" of IDEM's handling of the BP permit is due September 24th.

An Indiana environmental law judge has agreed to hear the appeal of BP's waste water permit submitted by the Alliance for the Great Lakes on October 30th. This date that should be moved up considering BP's promise.

Chicagoist said...

BP's announcement came just an hour before U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, (D-Chicago) was going to announce a public pressure campaign against BP's top 20 investors.

Further adding to the intrigue was a study "made available to" Crain’s Chicago Business suggesting that BP was costing itself a great deal of good public image when other anti-pollution options were readily accessible at relatively little cost. BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone said "we're not aware of any technology that will get us to those limits but we'll work to develop a project that allows us to do so." According to the Tetra Tech study reviewed by Crain's, however, several types of anti-pollution devices have been employed in other facilities would remove ammonia and suspended solids from waste water "estimated to cost less than $30 (million) to $40 million.”

Anonymous said...


I read with intensity your "editorial" in today's Chicago Tribune.
My daughter is a social worker. She interned at Highland Park High School. She was apparently loved by all there.
When it came time to be hired, she was told they could not give her the job because she was not "bi-lingual."
nobody asked her if she spokje Hebrew, which would make her bi-lingual. Bi-lingual has become confused with Spanish speaking.
All those degrees, and denied a social work jopb in Highland Park because she doesn't speak Spanish.

Anonymous said...

On highway 22, as you enter Highwood from Highland Park, you might notice "neighborhood watch warnings."
You might have some difficulty reading them - they are in Spanish.