Investigation into Odors
Between July 25, 2017, and Oct. 12, 2017, DEQ received 11 complaints identifying EcoLube Recovery, doing business as American Petroleum Environmental Services, and Oil Re-Refining Company as sources of odors and emissions in North Portland. DEQ used this information, along with meteorological data from nearby weather stations, to confirm that APES and ORRCO are possible sources of odors and emissions.
DEQ sent complaint information to both companies and requested they provide information about their operations during the times reported in the complaints and three-hours prior to those times. DEQ evaluated the operational data and determined that both companies were in compliance with the requirements of their air quality permits. DEQ also confirmed that the thermal oxidizer at APES, which the company installed to reduce emissions and odors, was in use during all operating hours. The thermal oxidizer controls the majority of odors and emissions from the facility, however, it is not a practical means of controlling every emission and odor point.
DEQ is in the process of communicating with both companies about ways they can further reduce odors and emissions. Any additional action by the companies would be above and beyond what current environmental law requires.
DEQ asks that community members continue to file pollution complaints
when they detect odors and emissions. Complaints filed through DEQ’s complaint system are permanent records of pollution occurrences and are DEQ’s primary means of ensuring the agency collects the necessary information to conduct timely and thorough investigations into community concerns about pollution.
Emissions Testing at APES
In September 2017, DEQ reviewed and approved APES’ plan
to complete its required emissions “stack test” to determine whether the facility’s thermal oxidizer, which it installed in August 2017 to reduce emissions and odors, was operating properly, and to gather information on the facility’s emissions of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.
On Oct. 5, 2017, a third-party contractor completed the required testing. DEQ received the results of the test on Nov. 20, 2017, and is currently conducting a review to validate the results. DEQ anticipates completing this review in the first quarter of 2018, and will post its analysis on this webpage at that time.
Preliminary results indicate that the thermal oxidizer is functioning properly and is an effective means of controlling emissions of volatile organic compounds. DEQ is using the stack test emissions data to determine if the company is in full compliance with its air quality permit.
Solid Waste Violation Warning
On Dec. 13, 2017, DEQ issued a warning letter
to EcoLube Recovery, doing business as American Petroleum Environmental Services, that identified a solid waste permit violation for receiving used oil that contained detectable amounts of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at its North Portland facility. APES is to correct the violation by working closely with EPA to make sure the oil is removed from the site and properly transported and disposed.