The Southland Refinery in Mississippi has been in existence since 1949. A location near oil fields is ideal for the facility, which receives the majority of its crude oil feedstock from local sources. The refinery uses crude as the foundation for roofing-grade asphalt, paving-grade asphalt, heavy gas oils, heavy and light straight run naphtha and a variety of other specialty products.
In 2003, the Southland Oil Company became a part of the Hunt Southland Company. The refineries in Sandersville and Lumberton, Mississippi, were among the assets purchased. Since then, Hunt Southland has had control over the facilities. For a short period, the refineries were offline so that improvements could be made.
Since coming back online, Hunt Southland has focused on producing a variety of asphalts. Hunt Southland maintains a terminal in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which has insulated and heated tank storage capacity to ensure the continued quality of products shipped. While the majority of products from the Hunt Southland Refinery in Sandersville are shipped by truck or rail, shipment by barge can also be arranged from the Vicksburg terminal.
While there are no specific environmental concerns with regard to the Southland Oil Mississippi refinery, it is worth noting that at a Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality meeting in April of 2008, there was reference to the refinery. An operator of a former Southland Oil refinery site located near Crupp, Mississippi, was submitted for participation in the commission's Uncontrolled Site Voluntary Evaluation Program.
Asbestos in Southland Refinery in Mississippi
In cases where excessive heat or flame was a concern, various forms of asbestos were the insulating material of choice for the majority of the 20th century. Oil refineries such as Southland Refinery in Mississippi, therefore, were often built using materials that contained asbestos. A lesser-known property of certain types of the fibrous mineral is their resistance to chemicals. Ceiling tiles, insulation, counter tops, even protective uniforms, therefore, often contained the fibrous mineral. There is no doubt that asbestos was superb at safeguarding against flames and heat. This benefit, however, was accompanied by a significant price in terms of human health.
Generally, amosite was the variety of asbestos used. When it is mixed with chrysotile, which is impervious to heat and bases but not as impervious to acidic compounds, the amphibole amosite creates materials that are particularly effective at protecting against corrosive chemicals. This amosite, in the form of asbestos transite, was used in laboratories, refineries and chemical plants across the United States for many years before it was outlawed in building materials in the 1970s.
Asbestos transite could be sprayed onto ductwork and pipes, molded into working surfaces and laminated in the same way cement could. This form of asbestos did not offer a health risk as long as it remained solid. With age, however, this transite becomes prone to crumbling, allowing microscopic particles to float into the atmosphere. That is, such asbestos is friable, a term that is used for materials that are easily crushed. The insulation lining of industrial kilns also often contained friable asbestos.
Why Is Friable Asbestos Dangerous?
When friable, asbestos particles are easily dispersed into the environment. Breathing asbestos particles can result in diseases such as cancer or asbestosis. Another rare, but generally fatal, asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma. The pleural variety of mesothelioma, which affects the lining between the lungs and the pleural cavity, is the most common. Ingestion of asbestos fibers, which may occur if those tiny fibers become airborne and land on food or drinks, can lead to peritoneal or pericardial mesothelioma.
During the past few decades medical researchers have learned much information concerning the risks associated with asbestos exposure; therefore there are stringent guidelines regulating its use. However, when most oil refineries were first operating, the use of asbestos was more prevalent. Any asbestos remaining from that time may yet pose a health hazard if containment protocols are not observed during demolition and remodeling jobs.
A Time Bomb
In contrast to typical workplace injuries, which are readily observed and known about immediately following the causing incident, asbestos-related illnesses may take many, many years to manifest. The symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma - breathlessness, chronic coughing and pain in the chest or abdomen - can often be mistaken for the symptoms of other conditions. People that worked at or lived around places such as Southland Refinery in Mississippi therefore should ask their health care professionals for mesothelioma information. New treatments, like mesothelioma surgery, are being discovered, and early detection provides patients and their doctors the best chance to combat the previously always-fatal form of cancer.Sources
Highbeam - Hunt Southland Company Acquisition
Manta.com - Southland Oil CO
Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality - Agenda and Meeting Notes
Southland Oil - Hunt Southland Refining Company
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) - Laboratories and Shops
University of Wisconsin - Asbestos Disposal