Officials of the Big West Co., who agreed to prohibit the use of hydrofluoric acid their Rosedale Highway refinery, have asked the county to allow the use of the acid during routine maintenance.
The use of HF acid in the refining process was a major controversy when Big West proposed doubling production at the Flying J refinery. But in the face of strong opposition, refinery officials endorsed an alternate plan by the county that would allow expanded production, but without using the potentially-deadly chemical.
According to a news release from the county’s planning department Thursday afternoon, officials at Big West have revealed to county planners that contractors at the refinery were periodically using a diluted form of hydroflouric acid during maintenance of injection wells on the property.
Hydroflouric acid, if released accidentally, can form a vapor cloud that is extremely poisonous.
According to county planning director Ted James, Big West is now asking the county to remove the restriction against using a modified form of HF from a conditional use permit the refinery is required to obtain before moving forward with its expansion.