WOODS CROSS — Following an early release of students from Legacy Preparatory Academy May 16 because of a “noxious smell” that adversely affected students, the Davis County Health Department decided to issue a Notice of Violation to Silver Eagle Refinery – the purported cause of the odor.
“This didn’t relate to their emissions,” said Dennis Keith, Davis County Deputy Director of Environmental Health. “It was more this waxy material that produced a nuisance into the community.
“Because of this strong odor and nuisance, it falls into our purview,” he told The Clipper. “We haven’t issued it (the notice of violation) yet, but feel there is enough evidence to go in that direction.
Keith emphasized the intent is “not to hit them with a fine, or with penalties. We want to work with them and the community, make changes so this doesn’t happen again.”
If such instances happen in the future, “better notification to the school and surrounding community” needs to be in place, Keith said.
“Silver Eagle has been cooperative with us. We don’t anticipate any push back. I think they want to be a good neighbor to the community,” he said.
As previously reported, the triggering incident started May 15 when a refinery tank holding waxy material left over after diesel and other fuels for refining creates a waxy substance. It has to be heated to stay as a liquid and then is shipped to other clients.
“We’re not sure how it happened, but the pressure blew part of a lid off, and insulation (was released) into the eastern part of the area.”
South Davis Metro Fire and a Davis County Environmental Health Technician inspected the site. “We didn’t determine there was anything hazardous, felt Silver Eagle had it under control,” Keith said.
Overnight, an air-borne plume developed, visible to the east in Bountiful, Friday morning, he said.
Monitoring equipoment was brought in, with a fire occurring in a tank overnight, which refinery officials were trying to cool down.
“They had been pumping a lot of steam, fuel and particulates. There was elevated PM10 in the area, but we didn’t pick up any hazardous material,” Keith said.
But a change in wind direction overnight to the west, where the school is, produced a “burn crayon smell” that “penetrated into the school, was persistent in some classrooms.”
Elevated levels of PM10 were found in some classrooms, with students move to other areas of the school.
The refinery reportedly had the issue under control by 3 p.m., Keith said.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” he said. “We’re hoping in the next couple of weeks to issue that” notice.
The Clipper was unable to obtain comment from Silver Eagle as of press time.