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Refinery Cited in Spill Gets Back Its Sewer Permit

June 07, 1986

Los Angeles County has reinstated the sewer-use permit for an Atlantic Richfield Co. refinery in Carson that was disconnected from the Sanitation Districts system Tuesday after it discharged millions of gallons of oily waste directly into sewers.

The spill, which occurred May 31 while the refinery was using a temporary discharge pipe that apparently lacked proper monitoring devices, caused dangerous concentrations of flammable gases to accumulate at a secondary sewage treatment plant in Carson, where the waste was trapped.

The treatment plant utilizes pure oxygen, and operators, fearing an explosive mixture of the gases and the oxygen, shut the plant down. The closure, which lasted about a day and a half, resulted in the dumping of more than 350 million gallons of inadequately treated sewage into Santa Monica Bay.

Arco was permitted to reconnect to the sewage system Friday morning after districts' inspectors decided that the company was committed to corrective measures that would preclude the recurrence of a spill.

The floating oil wastes trapped at the treatment plant were skimmed off, loaded into tanker trucks and returned to Arco. Districts' spokesmen said Arco has agreed to pay all cleanup costs.

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