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Public Notices

Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

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SPK-2013-00134, Salt Lake County, UT

Published May 10, 2013
Expiration date: 6/20/2013


SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Chevron Refinery Expansion project, which would result in impacts to approximately 19.96 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands, in or adjacent to the Northwest Oil Drain Canal. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.

AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated by the Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States and by the State of Utah for Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

APPLICANT: Mr. Mark Vaughn, Chevron Products Company, 2351 North 1100 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

AGENT: Mr. Galen Williams, EarthFax Engineering, Inc. 7324 S. Union Park Ave., Suite 100, Midvale, Utah 84047

LOCATION: The 83-acre site is located in Sections 10 and 15, Township 1 North, Range 1 West, Salt Lake Meridian, Latitude 40.8252°, Longitude -111.9338°, 5 miles north of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, and can be seen on the UT-SALT LAKE CITY NORTH USGS Topographic Quadrangle.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant is proposing to relocate and update the human resources facilities (Administration Building, Shops, Main Laboratory and Warehouse) at its existing Salt Lake Refinery to meet U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations. These requirements include protecting employees at the Refinery from blasts, seismic events, and/or the release of toxic chemicals. The relocation would involve filling 19.96 acres of wetlands to construct new buildings for human resources personnel, parking areas, and an additional access road that would connect to Redwood Road. The total size of the proposed human resources facility would be 170,084 square feet, and increase from the existing 132,115 square feet. Table 1 identifies the existing facilities, Table 2 identifies the proposed facilities, and Table 3 summarizes the human resources staff requirement.

The human resources staff is made up of two groups, direct operations responsible for the daily operation of the refinery, and indirect operations responsible for supporting direct operations personnel. The human resource facility would house the indirect operations personnel. According to the applicant, it is essential that all of these employees be available on-site to safely operate and support the facility and to rapidly assist in incident management within the Refinery. The Refinery is considered a highly hazardous chemical operation under OSHA. Many of the indirect support, machine shop, and warehouse personnel are members of the emergency response team and are specially trained to respond to any conceivable plant emergencies. Additionally, many are also certified EMR’s required to be in the fire station during an incident for medical support.

Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to upgrade industrial facilities to comply with OSHA standards, API RP-752. The applicant believes there is a need to comply with these standards by constructing the proposed action. The attached drawings provide additional project details.


    Environmental Setting. There are approximately 67.17 acres of wetlands, including 5.24 acres of emergent marsh, 0.18-acre of freshwater wet meadow, 8.35 acres of scrub shrub, and 53.4 acres of saline wet meadow wetlands within the project area. The emergent marsh wetlands on the site are dominated by cattail (Typha latifolia) and rabbitsfoot (Polypogon monospeliensis). The scrub shrub wetlands are dominated by iodinebush (Allenrolfea occidentalis) and inland saltgrass (Distichlis spicata). The majority of the site wetlands are characterized as saline wet meadow and are dominated by inland saltgrass. Overall, the site is characterized as being disturbed and manipulated, although much of the area remains a functioning wetland that provides wildlife habitat and water quality benefits to the watershed.

    Alternatives. The applicant has provided information concerning project alternatives.

        Alternative 1:  Upgrade and Retrofit the Existing Human Resources Facilities. Under this alternative, the applicant would retrofit and upgrade the existing human resources facility. In order for this alternative to meet the project purpose and need, the upgraded facilities would need to protect employees during Refinery incidents, including blasts, seismic events, and/or toxic chemicals. The known blast zones and areas of seismic concerns associated with the Refinery have been identified in several studies. The existing human resources facilities are in close proximity to known hazards. According to the applicant, there is not sufficient space outside of the hazardous areas to retrofit and upgrade the existing human resources facility and bring them into compliance with the PSM regulations.

            A blast could produce a pressure wave creating a significant hazard to employees. In addition the proximity of the existing facility to known toxic gases poses a risk to employees in the event of a gas release caused by a seismic event or other unforeseen incident. In the event of a release of toxic gases the existing facility is in such close proximity to gas sources that employees would have very little warning time to get to a safe area. Further, many of the existing facility buildings were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s and would require extensive updates based on modern building and design codes. The modern codes would require a much larger building footprint than the current buildings occupy.

        Alternative 2: Offsite Relocation of the Human Resources Facility. Under this alternative, the human resources facility would be located offsite from the Refinery. According to the applicant, it is essential that all of these employees be available on-site to safely, efficiently operate and support the facility and to rapidly assist in incident management within the Refinery. The indirect support personnel include managers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, environmental engineers, process engineers, maintenance mechanics and others who need to be readily available to consult with direct operations personnel (plant operators) to ensure the Refinery is running efficiently and safely. Many of these employees are members of the emergency response team with special training to respond to any conceivable plant emergencies. Many are certified EMR’s, required to be in the fire station during an incident for medical support. Many items built or repaired in the Refinery shops or stored in the warehouse are large in size and require close proximity to the point of use within the Refinery. Many of the machine shop and warehouse employees are also members of the emergency response team who act as firefighters and assist with other incident management aspects such as safety and public relations.

            Human resources facility personnel are required to be on the Refinery each day for either day to day duty involved in the Refinery operation or to be available in the event of an emergency incident. This limited the offsite relocation possibilities to only those properties currently owned by the Refinery or immediately adjacent to the Refinery. The Refinery is bounded to the east and north by existing interstate highways. Further, the only adjacent property available for sale was almost entirely wetlands.

            Additional information concerning project alternatives may be available from the applicant or their agent. Other alternatives may develop during the review process for this permit application. All reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment, will be considered.

    Mitigation. The Corps requires that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize all impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. The applicant has proposed to mitigate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at the Machine Lake Wetland Mitigation bank at a 1:1 impact-to-mitigation ratio.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Utah Division of Water Quality is required for this project. The Utah Division of Water Quality will review the project to determine if the proposed work will comply with applicable water quality standards. Projects are usually certified where the project may create diffuse sources (non-point sources) of waste which would occur only during the actual construction activity and where best management practices would be employed to minimize pollution effects. Written comments on water quality certification should be submitted to Mr. William Damery, Utah Division of Water Quality, P.O. Box 144870, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870, or email, on or before June 10, 2013.

HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information (including applicant's report entitled Chevron West Fields Project north Salt Lake, Davis County, Utah), no cultural resources were identified within the project's area of potential effect. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The project will not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service, pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as appropriate.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.

EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the described activity will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The activity's impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, State, and local agencies and officials, Indian tribes, and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2013-00134-UO must be submitted to the office listed below on or before June 20, 2013.

John Urbanic, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
533 West 2600 South, Suite 150
Bountiful, Utah 84010

The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the applicant/agent or the Corps' project manager John Urbanic, 801-295-8380, extension 11,

Attachments: 8 drawings  and 3 tables