Power bump at Davis refinery causes smoky air

Thursday , October 09, 2014 - 5:20 PM

By LORETTA PARK Standard-Examiner staff

WEST BOUNTIFUL --- Officials said a power interruption at Holly Frontier Refinery Thursday caused a lot of smoke in the air in south Davis County.

An electrical transformer failed, said Mike Astin, environmental director with the refinery. The failure happened at 9 a.m. and it took several hours to replace the transformer.

South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jeff Basset said he started getting calls about the smoke around 10 a.m. 

He said officials at the refinery, 985 W. 500 South, West Bountiful, told him that a power bump surged through the refinery, causing the visible flame from the refinery exhaust to expand.

“So there’s more smoke because they have more product,” Basset said. 

Astin said because the electrical transformer that failed, it caused several units to quit working properly, including one of the boilers. That boiler produces steam that injects into the refinery’s flare to suppress the smoke. 

Those driving in the area noticed the flare was “a decent size flare,” Astin said. It was not overly large, but bigger than normal. And, of course, the smoke. 

By noon, the smoke had dissipated in the area.

Nearby in Woods Cross, a local refinery is implementing a new emergency response system, following a May 15 incident at the facility where noxious odors were released into the atmosphere.

Silver Eagle Refining General Manager Jerry Lockie unveiled a new communications notification system for residents Tuesday at a meeting with the city council. Texts to members of the city council were sent at the beginning of Lockie’s presentation in follow up to the May 15 incident at the refinery, where the fumes were linked to a storage tank at the facility.

Lockie said the refinery will work to make sure the 3,500 households in the community have access to be part of the notification system.

Mayor Rick Earnshaw also suggested the city could have information on how to sign up for the notification system at city hall.

The local refinery was fined $10,000 by the Davis County Health Department following in the incident earlier this year. Lockie said the refinery agreed to six stipulations in resolving the matter with the county and the company has completed four of the issues thus far.

Correspondent Antone Clark contributed to this story.

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