An investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has uncovered more safety and operational deficiencies at the Torrance refinery, including a “superficial” management structure and broken equipment designed to help contain any accidental release of toxic hydrofluoric acid that remained unfixed for “weeks.”
In addition, the EPA probe found that not only were critical safety systems untested, but the plant’s required risk management plan understated the danger to the community from a fire or chemical release because of several errors and inaccuracies.
The report was made public Tuesday, just hours before a Torrance City Council meeting where panelists were scheduled to debate whether to support a resolution written by Councilman Tim Goodrich that seeks to phase out the use of the acid at the refinery.
The refinery supposedly uses a modified form of the acid to make it safer, but industry critics and local activists have questioned whether it really is.
Goodrich called the EPA report “damning.”
“The revelations detailed in the EPA report underscore how dangerous modified hydrofluoric acid is, which is why we need a transition to a safer alternative,” he said.
The county Board of Supervisors has backed a similar resolution supporting a proposal by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to ban the chemical.
Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Daily News