Philadelphia releases report evaluating PES refinery explosion

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has released a report evaluating the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery.

The report was authored by the Refinery Advisory Group, which was established in the wake of the explosion there back on June 21.

The fire significantly damaged equipment and systems at a complex that was already struggling financially, the company said.

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Southwest Philadelphia refinery explosions caught on video on June 21, 2019.

The 150-year-old complex processes 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily into gasoline, jet fuel, propane, home heating oil and other products, according to the company. It started as a bulk petroleum storage facility in 1866 and began refinery operations in 1870.

presence of a large oil refinery in our City raises a series of valid questions, therefore it was important that City government understand all of these perspectives as the future of the site unfolds so we can prepare for a variety of possible outcomes."

"The refinery has been a significant part of Philadelphia's economic landscape for more than 150 years, yet it remains controversial," said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. "Unlike many employers, the refinery sits at the intersection of many different public and private interests-most of which are inherently in conflict with one another."

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Philadelphia Energy Solutions files for bankruptcy after refinery explosion and fire. Watch this report from Action News Mornings on July 22, 2019.

The future of the refienery will be determined through ongoing the ongoing federal bankruptcy process.

Information gathered in the months that followed the explosion is included in the report, as well as recommendations for the future of the site, and ways to improve it's impact on the community.

Some of those reccomendations include:

  • Strengthen regulations of Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) and other chemicals in a way that minimizes the level of risks posed to surrounding communities.

  • Evaluate the City's air monitoring system to ensure that the City is better prepared to quickly identify hazards and protect people from them.

  • Review its existing planning and response capabilities around hazardous materials more broadly.

  • Encourage the site to have a more positive impact on the environment than it has in the past through enhanced pollution control, development of renewable energy, and continued wastewater treatment activities.

  • Ensure the future use of the site plans for climate resiliency.

  • Consider providing easements or access along the river to accommodate these planned future extensions of the Schuylkill River Trail southward-which would greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of this valued public amenity.

You can find the full report HERE.
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