Video: Big West Refinery Bombs Salt Lake Airshed With Saturday Afternoon Bypass

(EnviroNews Utah) — North Salt Lake City, Utah — It’s certainly not the first time, and it very likely won’t be the last. For the umpteenth time, on Saturday, January 28, 2017, the antiquated Big West oil refinery in North Salt Lake City, Utah, spewed toxic black smoke high into the airshed above the Salt Lake Valley — this, in an area that harbors the most dangerous air pollution in the United States during winter months. The bypass event was noticed by an EnviroNews Utah correspondent at around 3:55 p.m. and was still underway at 4:20 p.m. when they drove out of range. [Editor’s Note: When this story was originally published, Chevron was named as the company that had the bypass. EnviroNews Utah apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.]

Since the episode happened on the weekend, when the doors of governmental regulatory agencies are closed, it is not known by EnviroNews Utah at this hour whether Big West notified the Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to tell on itself, as is required by law. In watching Salt Lake’s refineries for years, it has been the observation of EnviroNews Utah that a disproportionately high number of bypass events happen either on the weekend, or after 5 p.m.; outside the typical operating hours of DAQ employees.

Interestingly, events like these, typically don’t cost the culprit industrial enterprise a dime — at least as long as it is caused by “an act of God.” Those words don’t come from EnviroNews, they come directly from DAQ officers, and what they mean is, if the event is the result of a power bump, power outage, unforeseeable equipment failure or myriad other things, the operator is not punished at all. Only in the event of negligence or operator error is the business issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) carrying, usually at worst, a monetary fine.

Utah is plagued by a unique air pollution crisis — different than what is experienced by residents in most other large metropolitan areas: wintertime temperature inversions. When inversion conditions are present, the stagnant cold air sinks and presses down against the valley floor, trapping particulate pollution into a soup-like fog, and trapping Utah’s residents in an unescapable air pollution crisis.

The conditions are not only inconvenient and unenjoyable, they are downright deadly. The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE), a group of over 500 Utah doctors, has repeatedly reiterated that Utah’s hampering air results in massive spikes in heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, emergency room visits and deaths. The group has also estimated Utah’s air problem costs residents over $1 billion a year in air-pollution-related medical expenses — a massive externality that has had citizens and environmental groups up in arms for years.

Critics of the Beehive State’s policies say when the inversions happen, the State asks residents to carpool, take public transit, not burn wood in their stoves, and reduce freeway driving speeds to 55 miles-per-hour — while at the same time, nobody asks Utah’s polluting businesses to slow down at all under the dangerous conditions.

Utah’s notoriously pro-industry Governor Gary Herbert has even gone on the record with EnviroNews Utah saying businesses have been the ones that have cleaned up Utah’s air the most — a position not agreed with by most of Utah’s citizens — many of who frequently compromise their quality of life in an effort to do their part in cleaning up Utah’s deadly air.

Governor Gary R. Herbert Says Industry Cleans Up Utah’s Air More Than Residents

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Chevron Refinery Burnoff — 1/28/17


Chevron Refinery Burnoff — 1/28/17

OTHER ENVIRONEWS UTAH REPORTS ON INDUSTRIAL BYPASSES IN NORTH SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

Chevron Refinery Burps Off Fire and Massive Black Smoke Plume in Morning Bypass

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – North Salt Lake City – Yesterday, at around 7:50 a.m., a concerned citizen pulled out a camera and snapped photos of fire atop the Chevron smokestack coupled with a massive belch of black smoke from the old refinery in North Salt…

Emergency Bypass for the Record Books at Holly Oil Refinery

(EnviroNews Utah) – This is an emergency bypass filmed at Holly Oil Refinery directly following the massive explosion at Silver Eagle Refinery November, 4 2009 in South Davis County. While all other media sources were talking about Silver Eagle, EnviroNews Utah was covering this incredible display of…

Silver Eagle Refinery Caught Spewing Big Black Toxic Smoke by Citizen Watchdogs

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – This documentation of an emergency bypass event at Silver Eagle oil refinery was taped and sent into EnviroNews Utah via the Community Watch. The large toxic burp was seen, heard, and smelled between 5:10 and 5:20 PM on August 19, 2013….

Nighttime Tesoro Refinery Bypass Caught on Tape by EnviroNews Utah on “RED AIR” Day

(EnviroNews Utah) – Although Utah’s infamous “RED AIR DAY” warning signs have been mysteriously out of commission through one of the most hazardous air pollution streaks in modern history, Utah’s citizens are no strangers to what is asked of them when the pollution get’s bad. Everyone knows that…

Yet Another Nighttime Burn-off at Good Ol’ Holly Refinery – Holly Nabbed Again by Neighborhood Citizen Journalists

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – Holly Frontier aka Holly Refinery has come under scrutiny as of late – The reason: the company’s proposed operational and pollution expansion. Many local observers claim that Holly has consistently been the most irresponsible operator on “Refinery Row” in South Davis…

Big West Oil Caught in Large Morning Flare With Billowing Black Smoke

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – Well, Big West Oil Refinery in North Salt Lake is at it again. What’s that you ask? Only pumping off large flares with accompanying funky black smoke. This episode was sent into EnviroNews Utah by two local citizen journalists who saw…

Nighttime Reconnaissance Mission by Neighborhood Citizen-Journalist Met By Angry Plant Workers While Capturing Huge Burn-Off at Holly Oil Refinery

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – This was fed into the EnviroNews Utah EnviroNews Community Watch Blog via a brave and frustrated citizen who took to a nighttime reconnaissance mission of Holly Oil Refinery with a video camera as his weapon. EnviroNews Utah has documented numerous frustrated…

Holly Refinery Caught in Nighttime Flare-off Again

(EnviroNews Utah) – On Thursday February 28th, Holly Refinery was observed with a huge flare atop one of their stacks that started at approximately 9 PM and persisted for at least 4 hours. This is the same Holly Refinery that has recently applied for an expansion permit for…

Kinder Morgan Gas Refinery Busted in Massive Saturday Afternoon Burn-off in Bluebell Oilfield

(EnviroNews Utah) – We’ve been seeing a lot of this sort of thing lately and concerned citizens have been sending us clips almost on a weekly basis. What’s that you might ask? Huge burn-offs coming from atop oil and gas refining plants, and for some “strange” reason, it…

Silver Eagle Oil Refinery Explodes Again Forcing Legacy Prep. Elementary School to Evacuate

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Massive Emergency Bypass Goes down at Stericycle Medical Waste Plant as Panicked Residents Run for Cover (Video)

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – The Stericycle medical waste incineration plant couldn’t have picked a worse time to have another large, visible emergency episode, considering all of the recent controversy swirling around the company. On Friday evening, a 5K race was underway in the North Salt…

Stericycle Vomits Thick Black Cloud of Death in Yet Another Emergency Bypass Episode While Children Walk Home From School

(EnviroNews Utah) – North Salt Lake – In light of recent events, it would seem that it doesn’t matter at all to Stericycle medical waste incinerator just how much public pressure came down on them last year – nor does it apparently matter how much outrage and nationwide…

Stericycle Bombs Neighborhood With Deadly Black Smoke Again in Massive Afternoon Bypass

(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – North Salt Lake – At about 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, residents of Foxboro were caught in another Stericycle bypass event as fire and black smoke billowed out of the unfiltered bypass stack at the medical waste incinerator in…

Stericycle Blasts Off Again in Inky Black Morning Bypass

(EnviroNews Utah) – North Salt Lake City – Like a child with a bedwetting problem, it would appear that Stericycle medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake City just can’t help it. That is, they just can’t get their releases under control. The problem is, Stericycle’s emissions are…

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(EnviroNews Utah via Community Watch Blog) – This bypass episode was sent into EnviroNews Utah on July 24, 2013 by Beth Brown, a concerned local citizen who runs Studio 2B Photography. Stericycle (medical waste incinerator) was recently busted for being out of compliance with their Title V air…

‘Puff the Toxic Dragon’ – (Stericycle Emergency Bypass Stack) – Environmental Music Video

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Video: Big West Refinery Bombs Salt Lake Airshed With Saturday Afternoon Bypass

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