Amoco's Yorktown, Virginia, refinery is a 35-year-old, 53 000 bbl/day facility that manufactures gasoline, heating oil, liquid petroleum gas, sulfur, and coke. In a cooperative and voluntary effort, Amoco Corporation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a joint project to study polluation prevention opportunities at an operating industrial facility.
Source reduction efforts—key to pollution prevention strategies—require knowledge of specific sources of releases. However, data on releases from individual process units are limited in favor of data to monitor existing end-of-pipe pollution control requirements. The study's sampling program sought to portray the distribution of releases within the refinery, their management within the refinery, and ultimate releases leaving the refinery. Subsequent tests of blowdown stack and fugitive emissions further improved total release estimates.
The initial study estimated that the refinery generates about 25 000 metric tons (t)/year of potential pollutants. Of these, about half are released from the refinery as airborne, waterborne, or land-disposed releases. Airborne releases comprise the majority of releases by mass, about 12 000 t/year. Most of the airborne releases are volatile organic compound hydrocarbons. The inventory sampling project and subsequent work identified differences with Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) values and standard emission factors (AP-42). The inventory and other data provided an opportunity to consider options for, and limitations of, specific pollution prevention or source reduction strategies.