Cleanup underway after Valero refinery flare sent oil mist into Nonconnah Creek

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A recent gas flare at the Valero refinery in southwest Memphis sent a mist of oil into nearby Nonconnah Creek that will have to be cleaned up, state officials say.

On Feb. 15, drivers on I-55 and nearby residents noticed what appeared to be a larger than normal flame atop the refinery. The nearby interstate was briefly shut down.

The company released a statement that day that said, “Due to the extreme cold weather, operational conditions at the Valero Memphis Refinery are requiring the use of the safety flare system to safely burn off excess material and minimize potential emissions. No community impacts are anticipated.”

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said they were notified of the oil the next day.

Valero and an environmental consultant are responsible for the cleanup. TDEC has visited the site to review for compliance with environmental regulations and said “no significant impacts to waters of the state were observed.”

The cleanup is ongoing.

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