CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
CITGO continues its efforts to reduce waste generation and air emissions as reported by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Emissions reduction is a priority; the results of which can be seen in the continuing reduction of benzene, other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sulfur dioxide levels as measured by air monitoring stations located around the refinery. CITGO maintains a series of groundwater monitoring and recovery wells. Communications with our neighbors about refinery activities and environmental progress are made through involvement with the Corpus Christi Community Advisory Council and its Long Term Health Committee.
CITGO has been an active participant in the Corpus Christi Air Quality Committee and in developing and implementing the voluntary Ozone Flex agreement. Included in the agreement are efforts to reduce emissions of VOCs and nitrous oxides (NOx); both contribute to the formation of ozone in the community. Over the past three years, both VOCs and NOx have been reduced by more than 50 percent. These efforts also include a marine vapor control system at our dock facilities, installation of flare gas recovery systems, improved tank emission controls and implementation of an enhanced leak detection and repair program, all of which reduce vapor emissions. Corpus Christi is one of the few industrial communities that is in attainment of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air standards. The refinery also produces, for local retail outlets, low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline that reduces ozone-producing VOCs.
Fundamentally, water is a local issue. Because of this, CITGO focuses our water-related efforts on the needs of the local watershed. While all three of our refineries are located on canals, the characteristics of those watersheds are different. The Corpus Christi Refinery is located in a region that is more at risk of stress on water supply. Corpus Christi is often affected by water restrictions as a result of droughts and water shortages. To prepare for this possibility, the Corpus Christi Refinery has a plan in place to reduce its water consumption by 15 percent during periods of water restriction by implementing short-term process improvements throughout the refinery.
As a responsible and conservative water consumer, CITGO uses significantly less water per barrel of finished product than our industry average through efficient process design and control. A portion of the water entering the refinery is recycled and reused. That water, which is discharged into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, is treated to stringent standards specified in our wastewater permit. The water discharged from the refinery was clean enough for a lost manatee, ultimately named Texas, to dwell at our wastewater treatment system outfall until it was recovered and returned to its native Florida.
CARING FOR OUR COAST
The Corpus Christi Refinery, together with the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) and Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation, hosted two major coastal restoration efforts at the Nueces Delta Preserve and the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve. These projects are part of CITGO Caring for Our Coast, a yearlong program to promote environmental conservation and restoration through a series of volunteer and educational efforts, in keeping with the long-held commitment by CITGO to serve the communities in which it operates. Hundreds of volunteers from CITGO, CBBEP and local schools and organizations joined together to restore and enhance habitats within the Nueces Delta Preserve by scattering native grass and wildflower seeds, and planting indigenous fauna in a newly created wetland habitat that will serve as a nesting location for water fowl wintering in the area. Throughout the years, storms along the Gulf Coast have contributed to significant coastal change, reflected in the many disappearing beaches, dunes and wetlands. The Nueces Delta Preserve Project is the fourth in a series of environmentally-focused projects that CITGO has hosted as part of a yearlong campaign leading up to the 10-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In August 2014, CITGO launched the CITGO Caring for Our Coast program with an event to promote marine education with Dr. Robert Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust, followed by restoration events in New Orleans, Holly Beach, La., and Lemont, Ill.
CITGO, in collaboration with the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department, worked to revitalize the Oso Bay Wetland Preserve, a 160-acre area of reclaimed agricultural and cattle land. This project follows a similar restoration effort led by CITGO along the Nueces Delta Preserve, and was the fifth in a yearlong series of volunteer efforts promoting environmental conservation and restoration. CITGO employees, students and local volunteers spent the morning learning about the Preserve, while planting trees, grasses, and other vegetation that native wildlife will soon call home. Hands-on work stations were also set up for students in attendance to learn about natural habitats and environmental conservation.