United exceeds air requirements

United Refining has exceeded requirements in EPA-mandated air quality improvements.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), United Refining Company has made modifications that have reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions more than was projected just months ago.

“DEP and United Refining Company announced that changes to United Refining’s Warren facility have reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by 62 percent from 2011 levels thanks to recent modifications,” according to a Thursday DEP release.

In August, DEP estimated a reduction of less than 50 percent. “DEP estimates that by 2018 sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by 482 tons, or by 48 percent, from levels emitted in 2011,” according to a previous DEP release.

In 2013, part of Warren County, including portions of the City of Warren and Conewango and Glade townships, was listed as a nonattainment area with respect to sulfur dioxide emissions.

The Warren Nonattainment Area was established based on testing in 2011 after Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards were made more stringent in 2010.

“DEP expects that it will be able to demonstrate that portions of Warren County… that are in the nonattainment area, will be in attainment with ambient air quality standard in 2018,” according to the Thursday DEP release. “Following the reductions made by United Refining in 2015, sulfur dioxide levels in the Warren Nonattainment Area have been well below the standard of 75 parts per billion.”

“Short term exposure to SO2 has been linked to respiratory conditions in humans,” according to DEP.

The proposed revision that would remove Warren from the nonattainment list is currently under review by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to DEP.

DEP and United have agreed upon new limits, according to the release. “Should United Refining’s emissions exceed any of the newly agreed upon limits, there are specific stipulated penalties in place that will continue daily until the air emissions are once again meeting the agreed upon limits.”