Eastham Refinery, Ellesmere Port

a Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan - Eastham Refinery, Ellesmere Port

Redmore Environmental was instructed to prepare a Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan for the Eastham Refinery, Ellesmere Port. The document was required in order to satisfy an improvement condition specified within the Environmental Permit for the facility.


The Eastham Refinery is located to the north-west of Ellesmere Port and produces bitumen, as well as other lighter factions such as gas oil and naphtha, from crude oil and refinery residues. These materials are received via pipeline from the nearby Tranmere Terminal and the Queen Elizabeth II dock and stored within covered tanks. Treatment includes a combination of atmospheric and vacuum column distillation in order to facilitate separation of hydrocarbons into various final components.

The principal atmospheric releases from processes at the facility are oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter from the atmospheric distillation column. However, there is also the potential for fugitive releases of volatile organic compounds from pressurised components on site. The Environment Agency (EA) therefore required an Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan to be prepared in order to control and minimise releases from the identified sources.

Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan

The Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan for the facility identified the processes on-site which had the potential to generate volatile organic compound emissions and outlined methods for the quantification of atmospheric release rates. The following steps were undertaken in order to produce the plan:

  • A review of relevant industry guidance;
  • Identification of potential fugitive volatile organic compounds emission sources at the facility;
  • Identification of appropriate monitoring methods and equipment;
  • Identification of methods to enable the calculation of volatile organic compound release rates from fugitive emission sources; and,
  • Formalisation of the procedures for recording and reporting monitoring data.

Following review of relevant guidance, the potential fugitive volatile organic compound emission sources were identified based on operational information. A site visit to the facility was also undertaken by one of our Air Quality Consultants in order to ensure all potential emission sources were identified. This procedure indicated that fugitive emissions were likely to arise from pressurised components at the site, such as valves, seals on pumps and compressors, flanges, relief valves and open-ended lines/valves.

Following identification of the emission sources an appropriate method of air quality monitoring was prepared. This was based on the nature of the identified sources and included a four-stage approach comprising a leak detection survey, a period of atmospheric emissions monitoring, calculation of emission rates and finally leak repair. Details regarding the specific methods, required equipment and associated monitoring schedule were outlined within the plan.


The Volatile Organic Compound Monitoring Plan was submitted to and accepted by the EA. The improvement condition specified within the Environmental Permit for the facility was therefore satisfied.

If you are concerned about volatile organic compound emissions associated with your facility or require assistance with any air quality related requirement of your Environmental Permit, then get in touch today to discuss how we can help you.

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