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Shell Chemical Yabucoa Incorporated

Other (Former) Names of Site: Puerto Rico Sun Oil Company (1971-2001), Shell Chemical Yabucoa, Inc. (12/31/2001 - 12/9/2010)

EPA Identification Number: PRD090074071
Facility Location: Route 901, km. 2.7, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico 00767
Link to the site map
EPA Contact Name: Jesse Avilés, 787-977-5882, aviles.jesse@epa.gov
Last Updated: August 2011
Environmental Indicator Status: Human Exposures Under Control [PDF 678.16 KB, 39 pp] has been verified.
Groundwater Contamination Under Control [PDF 565.92 KB, 21 pp] has been verified.

Site Description

The Buckeye Caribbean Terminals, Inc. (formerly Shell Chemical Yabucoa, Inc.) is located on Road 901 about two miles east of the town of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Petroleum refining operations have been in progress at the site since May 1971.

The facility occupies approximately 252 acres that have been subdivided into three working areas:

The Refinery Area is the most inland area of the facility, bordered on the east by Lajas Creek and on the north by Santiago Creek. The Tank Farm Area is located approximately 2,300 feet east of the Refinery Area, and is bordered by two unnamed creeks. The Dock Area extends east of the Tank Farm Area, terminating at the Caribbean Sea. The Dock Area encloses a small man-made inlet from the Caribbean Sea which is used by tanker ships for loading and unloading purposes.

Agricultural and sugar cane field surround the facility to the north, east, and west. To the south, Route 901 borders the Refinery Area, sugar cane fields border the Tank Farm Area, and a palm tree grove and beach border the Dock Area. The residential community of Camino Nuevo, with a population of 4,900 persons, is located approximately 2,500 feet southeast of the Refinery Area.

Site Responsibility and Legal Instrument

In June 1994, EPA Region 2 and Puerto Rico Sun Oil Company (PRSOC) entered into a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) §3008 (h) Corrective Action Order. The Order required PRSOC to investigate 17 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) across the site. The subject SWMU's are listed below.

Refinery Area SWMUs

Tank Farm Area SWMUs

Dock Area SWMUs

Permit Status

Buckeye Caribbean Terminals, Inc. currently operates under interim status, but is in the process of seeking a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Part B permit application for operation and upgrade of the Hazardous Waste Storage Area (HWSA). The only other regulated units at the site -- the Equalization Basin (EQB) and the New Oily Sludge Basin -- clean closed under interim status in 2002. The facility also maintains a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination system (NPDES) Permit for discharge of stormwater and treated wastewater into area surface waters, including the Caribbean Sea and Santiago Creek. Wastewater treatment units at the site are excluded from RCRA regulation under 40 CFR §264.1(g)(6).

Potential Threats and Contaminants

Shell Chemicals Yabucoa is presently completing a multi-year RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) at the site, including soil and groundwater investigation at fifteen Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). No Further Action (NFA) appears to be necessary for two SWMUs. The two SWMUs are the Process Sewer (32) and the Ballast Basin Leachate Collection Tank (44A).

The primary hazardous and non-hazardous wastes currently generated at this facility are from refining operations. Most of the RCRA hazardous waste generated by the facility is oily sludge, falling under EPA Hazardous Waste Numbers (waste codes): K051, K049, F037, and F038. Other hazardous wastes generated at the site include: K048, K050, K169, K171, K172, D001, D018, and U154.

Operations at the site have contaminated both soil and groundwater. Organic contaminants found in soil at the site included chrysene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, carbon disulfide, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). However, all of the detections in surface soil and most of the detections in subsurface soil were reported below relevant risk-based concentrations (RBCs) or other appropriate screening levels. Groundwater beneath the site has been impacted in isolated areas by benzene, naphthalene, vinyl chloride, and arsenic.

Light nonaqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) consisting of free product hydrocarbon (FPH) was observed at the East API Separator (SWMU 3), the Watery Oil Separator (SWMU 43), the Main Dock Sump (SWMU 33), the Barge Dock Sump (SWMU 34), and the Northeast Refinery Area (SWMU 40). FPH was also observed in soil at the Northeast Refinery Area and in sections of the East Aisle Ditch (SWMU 45).

Cleanup Approach and Progress

As required by the Corrective Action Order, Shell Chemicals Yabucoa is investigating releases from the identified Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) during the multi-year RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) effort (including the supplemental RFI conducted in 2003). Based upon the preliminary results of these investigations, it appears that hazardous waste constituents have been released to the soil and groundwater at the site, resulting in contamination of both media at levels exceeding applicable risk-based standards. However, a preliminary exposure assessment (included in the June 1997 RFI Report) indicates that potential impacts to human health and the environment from exposure to soil or groundwater contamination at the site is insignificant.

In the draft RFI Report, Puerto Rico Sun Oil Company recommended no further action for several of the SWMUs, including the Process Sewer (SWMU 32) and the Ballast Basin Leachate Collection Tank (SWMU 44A). Additional risk assessment documentation and No Further Action (NFA) recommendations will be provided in the revised RFI Report yet to be submitted by the facility.

Site Repository

Copies of supporting technical documents and correspondence are available for public review at the following locations:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2
RCRA Records Center
290 Broadway, 15th Floor, Room 1538
New York, New York 10007-1866
Telephone (212) 637-3043

Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (PREQB)
Ponce De Leon Avenue
National Plaza Bldg., 12th Floor
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00917

The inspection of some of the documents cited in the site fact sheet may require a formal request under the United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


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