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Published: Wednesday, 5/27/2009

BP refinery in Oregon seeks EPA exemption

The BP-Husky Oil Toledo Refinery in Oregon wants the ability to release more untreated storm water from its north pond into Lake Erie's Maumee Bay while also getting an exemption from tighter mercury rules for water discharges.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said it will be host to a public information session and hearing on the company's request at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Rd., Oregon.

Although closed, the refinery's north pond continues to collect storm water. The refinery is seeking a new discharge point for storm water overflow to the bay, Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA spokesman, said.

The variance request would exempt the refinery from new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules for mercury. Officials tightened those rules after methods of detection became more precise. The refinery is seeking a monthly average for mercury consistent with what it is now discharging, to pevent costly upgrades, Ms. Pierce said.

Such variances are allowed when industries and sewage plants can demonstrate they're not economically feasible, she said.

The Ohio EPA will require continued monitoring and adherence to discharge limits if it grants the request, Ms. Pierce said.

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