LIMA — After an explosion rattled both windows and residents throughout Lima and the surrounding area Saturday, the Lima Husky Refinery will remain closed for about a week, according to Husky Energy Inc.
In a statement released Monday, Husky confirmed the site of the explosion is secure, with impacts limited to the area of the isocracker unit. In a precautionary measure, other facilities and units at the refinery have been shut down. Production will be suspended for about a week.
“Crews are very active today determining the impact of the fire and developing a plan to resume operations,” Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email. “There will be no impact on staffing.”
Steelworkers wnion Local 624 president Mike Edelbrock said that the workload for refinery employees will actually grow, at least in the short term.
“We’re going to be busier with all the maintenance that will be going on in that area,” he said. “They’ll probably double crew.”
The statement also said that when operations resume, the refinery can operate without the isocracker, which processes about 25,000 barrels of oil per day. The refinery annually produces about 25 percent of the gasoline consumed in Ohio, according to Husky Energy’s website. Customers will continue to be supplied with products during the shutdown.
Details on repairing the isocracker are not yet available, according to Duvall.
“At this stage, it is simply too early to speculate on how long it will take to repair the isocracker or to estimate costs,” he said. “We expect to be in a position to provide an update next week.”
While Husky continues to assess the situation at the refinery, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will continue to monitor air quality for the next 10 days, according to Allen County EMA director Russ Decker.
“Our HAZMAT guys are going to assist the EPA in doing some of the air monitoring for them,” he said.
Ohio EPA spokesperson Dina Pierce said that Husky will take on air monitoring duties for the EPA.
“We have asked the company to do air monitoring over the next several days as a precaution,” she said.
As of Sunday, none of these chemicals were detected in the air to the point where they registered on any instruments.
Pierce also revealed that the water used by firefighters Saturday was contained in a holding pond on the refinery grounds and that Husky cut off the discharge points where wastewater is released into the Ottawa River, preventing any of the water and any chemicals it may have picked up from entering the waterway.
“From an environmental standpoint, things are looking OK so far,” she said.