At the time the Woods Cross petroleum refinery was sold by ConocoPhillips to Holly Corporation in June 2003, the facility had a crude oil capacity of 22,500 barrels per day. The $58.3 million sale was considered a part of a divestiture of assets.
The refinery is currently being operated by Holly Refining and Marketing Company, a subsidiary of Holly Corporation. It can currently process 25,000 barrels a day and draws its supply from Canada, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado via pipeline. Most of the products made at the facility are used in the Salt Lake City area, delivered primarily by truck. The plant also has access to a pipeline owned by ChevronTexaco and supplies its terminals in Idaho and Washington.
Early Plant History
The Woods Cross refinery was originally owned by William Yeates Company. It was built in 1932 and produced 1,000 barrels per day. It wasn’t bought by Phillips Petroleum until 1948, when it took over the assets of the former company, then known as Wasatch Oil Refining Company. Between the acquisition and 1963, Phillips expanded the facility from producing 4,200 to outputting15,500 barrels per day.
Phillips had announced in 1991 that they wanted to sell the refinery, but later took the property off the market when there were no offers for what the company thought it was worth. It was later purchased in 2003.
EPA data put the background risk for cancer due to air pollution at 19.87 in a million for the surrounding area. The risk of infant mortality, though, is lower than that for the state and the nation. Major area pollutants include benzene, at 12.02 parts per million, carbon tetrachloride, and acetaldehyde, as well as 1,2-butadiene.
ConocoPhillips Woods Cross Petroleum Refinery and Asbestos
During the majority of the 20th century, the mineral called asbestos was chosen as an insulator in cases where flames or temperature extremes were a concern. Materials made with asbestos, therefore, were frequently utilized when building facilities like the ConocoPhillips Woods Cross petroleum refinery. Resistance to reactive chemicals is perhaps a less well-known property of various types of asbestos. As a result, asbestos was utilized in safety clothes, lab equipment and bench tops. Asbestos, however, carried a significant downside that was not known or at times deliberately ignored: grave and often lethal diseases were found to be the result of asbestos exposure.
Generally, amosite was the kind of asbestos utilized. Frequently referred to as “brown asbestos”, amosite is particularly good at resisting corrosive substances like those produced in plants like the ConocoPhillips Woods Cross petroleum refinery because of the iron molecules in its chemical composition. This amosite, in the form of asbestos transite, was utilized in labs and oil refineries throughout the United States for decades before it was outlawed in building materials in the 1970s.
Asbestos transite could be sprayed onto ductwork and pipes, laminated and molded into working surfaces in the same way cement could. Generally, new items made with transite were innocuous since the asbestos fibers were trapped in the transite. With age, however, this transite grows prone to becoming powdery, allowing microscopic particles to flake off into the air. When it is in this state, it is said to be friable, which means easily crushed. Laboratory kilns also frequently contained friable asbestos in insulation linings.
Why Friable Asbestos Is Bad
When they are friable, asbestos particles are readily dispersed into the air. If someone breathes these particles, they can harm the lungs, causing asbestosis or cancer. In addition, asbestos exposure is known to be the primary cause of mesothelioma, a rare but often deadly disease affecting the mesothelium, the tissue that lies between the lungs and the chest cavity. If the airborne particles settle on food or in drinks and are then ingested, pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma may result, although they are less common than pleural mesothelioma.
Since scientific inquiry led to increased awareness of the risks of asbestos exposure, men and women today enjoy the protection of stringent guidelines regulating the use of asbestos. Asbestos use was more common, however, when places like ConocoPhillips Woods Cross petroleum refinery were constructed. Before modern laws were put into place, employees often toiled without respirators or other protective gear in environments where asbestos particles filled the atmosphere.
The Lurking Hazard of Asbestos
As opposed to most job-related injuries, which are easily observed and known about soon after the causing incident, asbestos-related diseases may take ten, twenty, or even thirty years to manifest. It can also be hard to identify asbestos-related disorders because the symptoms resemble the symptoms of other disorders. Hence, it is very important for folks that were employed by or lived around places like the ConocoPhillips Woods Cross petroleum refinery to ask their health care professionals for a mesothelioma treatment guide.Such information can enable physicians to make accurate diagnoses; especially with mesothelioma, the earlier it is caught, the better the odds of surviving or at the least of enjoying an improved quality of life. Despite there being no mesothelioma cure, the disease can sometimes be treated with various therapies.Sources
EPA - MyEnvironment - Sites Reporting to EPA near Woods Cross, UT
UtahRails.net - Utah’s Oil Industry and Utah’s Railroads
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) - Laboratories and Shops
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Disposal