According to the Entergy Texas website, more than 6,000 local residents were without power Sunday, April 14, as were six refineries in the Port Arthur area including Motiva Port Arthur, Valero, Flint Hills, Total, DuPont and Huntsman.
The outage was caused by a fire at the City of Port Arthur Entergy substation on 39th Street in Port Arthur started by an electrical malfunction. Port Arthur and Groves were the most affected, according to an outage map on Entergy’s website. Power was restored the same afternoon, but conditions at the affected refineries were still impacted even days after the event. During the recent power outage, the refineries induced “flaring” measures, burning off pollutants into the air to prevent catastrophe. Residents near the plants could see billows of fire and smoke at each of the locations as the emissions wafted through the communities.
According to a spokesperson for Motiva, Kimberly Windon, on Tuesday, April 16, “The Motiva Port Arthur Refinery is in the early process of preparing units for re-start, following a refinery shutdown that took place on April 14 as a result of the unexpected loss of power from our utility provider. The refinery is safely progressing through a structured and planned restart sequence that will encompass several days.
“Extensive fence-line monitoring reflected that there were no harmful levels of environmental contaminants in the air. Routine monitoring will continue, as Motiva takes all necessary precautions to protect people and the community around us. All appropriate regulatory agencies were notified of this incident, and reports have been submitted to them in a timely manner.”
Motiva, Valero, Flint Hills, Total, DuPont and Huntsman all submitted estimated emission totals to the TCEQ for review, but a final report will not be until two weeks after the event date.