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EXXONMOBIL Presented with the
2016 Clean Air Award
for exemplary efforts to reduce emissions at its Spokane Terminal
Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (Spokane Clean Air) is proud to recognize ExxonMobil’s Spokane Terminal as the 2016 recipient of the Clean Air Award. Through voluntary measures and innovative practices, ExxonMobil has reduced their emissions and contributed to SRCAA’s mission of preserving, enhancing and protecting Spokane County's air resource for current and future generations.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the primary air quality concern at bulk fuel terminals, so it is important that vapors are properly controlled. To help ensure this, ExxonMobil limits VOCs at its Spokane terminal on an ongoing basis through a comprehensive program that includes the use of state-of-the art control technologies, extensive employee training and rigorous facility maintenance. Emissions are contained and captured at two locations at the facility – at the terminal’s above-ground storage tanks and at the product loading racks (the area where trucks load fuel).
Pictured here, left to right: Spokane County Commissioner and Spokane Clean Air Board Chair, Al French; Spokane Clean Air's Executive Director Julie Oliver; ExxonMobil's Field Environmental Advisor Christina Stamatakis; and ExxonMobil Spokane Terminal's Working Foreman Dave Berard.
“Because gasoline is an extremely volatile liquid, the main air quality concern at bulk terminals is gasoline vapors, which can be released when storing and transferring gasoline,” according to Brandy Dickinson, an air quality inspector with the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (SRCAA). “The vapors are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and they contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, a harmful air pollutant. Communities, including Spokane, must meet national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone,” explained Dickinson.
Since 1954, ExxonMobil has operated its bulk fuel terminal in the Spokane Valley. The terminal is a 24-hour, year-round storage and transfer facility where petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, are stored in above ground tanks until being transferred to tanker trucks for ultimate delivery to retail fuel stations throughout the region.
“Beginning in the mid-1970s, ExxonMobil began installing internal floating roofs in the terminal’s gasoline storage tanks,” said Frank Rogers, ExxonMobil’s U.S. Fuel Operations Air Advisor. “The roofs reduce VOCs generated during tank filling and emptying, and are capable of reducing up to 98 percent of the evaporative emissions that would otherwise occur.”
Periodically, the terminal’s gasoline storage tanks must be internally inspected to comply with regulatory requirements. ExxonMobil strictly adheres to these requirements with the assistance of a task management tool which tracks regulatory compliance throughout the lifecycle of the facility. During internal inspections, the storage tanks are emptied of product and vapors. During “degassing”, the tanks are purged of vapors. To minimize emissions during this process, the terminal voluntarily employs a portable thermal oxidizer (pictured on the right) to remove the VOCs and minimize odors. The thermal oxidizer combusts the VOC vapors, reducing VOC emissions by greater than 99 percent.
“Our goal is to ensure the safety of our community and to act as a responsible community partner to protect this beautiful place we all call home,” said Dave Berard, Spokane Terminal Working Foreman. “We are grateful to the Spokane Clean Air team for working with our partners in industry to accomplish this shared goal.”
In 1996, Exxon, the owner of the terminal prior to Exxon and Mobil’s merger, installed vapor collection and recovery equipment on the product loading racks. Around the same time, Exxon also agreed to meet a voluntary limit on VOC emissions achievable.
To ensure the voluntary limits are met, ExxonMobil equipped their vapor recovery unit (VRU) with a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS). In the vapor recovery unit, vapors collected from the loading rack during truck loading are condensed and returned to gasoline storage tanks as useable petroleum fuel.
In 2012, ExxonMobil installed a vapor permissive device (pictured on the left) to ensure that product can only be loaded once a vapor recovery hose is properly connected to the truck. The proprietary system ) displays red light and green light indicators to provide truck drivers with visual confirmation that the vapor recovery equipment is properly connected to their trailers.
As a complement to their VOC reduction efforts, ExxonMobil maintains a rigorous preventative maintenance system and proactively tracks their compliance with environmental and regulatory requirements through a task management tool.
For all these reasons, ExxonMobil’s Spokane Terminal is the 2016 Clean Air Award recipient for their innovation and commitment to reduce air emissions. They have shown this commitment by investing in equipment, maintenance and training, which is ultimately an investment that benefits our community and the air we all share!
The Clean Air Award is presented annually to recognize innovation and commitment by a facility to reduce air emissions and thus improve air quality in Spokane County. Past award recipients and additional information is at www.spokanecleanair.org/business_recognition.