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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Oil companies to expand vapor recovery system

By Terry Hillig
Friday, Aug. 18 2006

HARTFORD

Oil companies working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will expand
a system that collects vapors from an underground pool of gasoline.

The system recovers the vapors and pipes them to the former Premcor refinery
for burning. The expansion will include piping along additional streets and
more extraction wells. Work will begin early next month.

It’s all part of an effort to eliminate a decades-old problem. Residents of
northern Hartford have complained for 40 years about hydrocarbon fumes that
enter their homes through the ground.

Experts say the fumes are from an underground pool of gasoline that probably
resulted from repeated leaks and spills from refineries and pipelines that have
operated in the area for more than 75 years.

The oil companies – Shell Oil Products US, Atlantic Richfield Co., Sinclair Oil
Corp. and the Premcor subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp. – are cooperating as
the Hartford Working Group in efforts to alleviate the problem. The effort was
undertaken as the result of a court-approved agreement between the companies,
the federal EPA and Illinois regulators.

HWG rebuilt – and now will expand – a vapor recovery system that had been
installed in the 1990s.

HWG spokesman Robert Miner said the system – through early June – had already
removed vapors equivalent to 140,000 gallons of liquid petroleum product.

Mike Joyce, the EPA’s community involvement coordinator for the Hartford
efforts, said the companies are now designing a multi-phase cleanup system to
remove both vapors and liquid products that could be a final solution to the
problem.

Joyce said the companies are committed to maintaining the systems and helping
residents with measures to keep vapors out of individual homes.

[email protected] 618-659-3638

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