Air quality improving around Superior refinery

Air quality improving around Superior refinery

Air quality improving around Superior refinery

During a news conference, Superior Mayor Jim Paine said while Thursday was a very scary day, "it had the potential to be absolutely catastrophic".

Husky purchased the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP a year ago. He said that the initial focus was placed on ensuring the welfare of people working within what he called "the hot zone".

At the time of the explosion, crews were in the process of shutting down the refinery so that repairs could be made to the decades-old facility, WDIO said.

Mike Hoyt, a captain with the Superior Fire Department, said the Husky responders worked to keep a tank with hydrogen fluoride and another container of chemicals from breaching.

The asphalt fire sent chemicals into the air in gaseous form, and those tiny particles can stick around long after the smoke has dissipated, according to Wilma Subra, a chemist with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network who has examined past refinery accidents. Crews were able to extinguish the fire at approximately 6:24 p.m.

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Reporter Emma Rechenberg from KBJR recorded images of the smoke billowing over a large area and loud explosions in the distance as officers evacuated the area. The state of emergency declared by the Superior authorities will remain in place overnight as will the evacuation order, the local police said in a tweet. Facebook post on Friday. Thursday, April 26, 2018. She said the extent of injuries is unknown.

The Superior refinery has a processing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also was on the scene to monitor air quality and to help oversee the beginning of the cleanup.

Three petroleum companies - Husky, Enbridge and Plains Midstream - operate in Superior, where several pipelines run by Enbridge bring crude oil from Canada and elsewhere before it's pumped south and east to serve markets across the nation.

Refinery manager Kollin Schade said six injured workers were taken to hospitals and seven others were treated at the scene following Thursday's explosion. The DNR, EPA and the Superior refinery will continue to monitor the situation for any possible changes.

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