WV-DEP Holding Public Meeting on Blue Racer NGL Processing Plant on 3/27/19

by Duane Nichols on March 25, 2019

Marshall County Region Including Natrium on Ohio River

PUBLIC MEETING regarding Natrium Fractionation Plant, Marshall County, WV

From the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, March 24, 2019

Thanks to everyone who submitted a request; the WVDEP has granted a public meeting on the air permit modification (permit R13-2896F) for Blue Racer Midstream, LLC’s Natrium Extraction and Fractionation Plant.

The meeting is on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM at the New Martinsville City Hall, 191 Main Street, New Martinsville, WV.

Map of the area along the Ohio River with the Natrium facility and the proposed PTT Global Ethane Cracker and Mountaineer Storage Facilities marked with yellow pins. Air patterns in this area move north along the river.

This Natrium plant sits along the Ohio River about 12 miles south of the city of Moundsville, WV. A fractionation plant carries out one of the steps in processing of natural gas liquids (NGLs) for use in petrochemical and plastics manufacturing. This plant likely would be processing ethane to be sent to the proposed PTT Global Ethane Cracker in Belmont County, OH, a stone’s throw north. Any excess ethane would be stored in the proposed Mountaineer Storage Facility, also nearby (see map at bottom of page). All are major infrastructure components for the proposed Appalachian Storage and Trading Hub/Petrochemical Complex. While the Natrium Plant has already been in operation for some time, it looks like they are applying for new permits to take on more NGL processing as part of the larger petrochemical hub. As a side note, Natrium does have on-site fracking pads too.

This permit does not take into consideration the emission the PTT Global Ethane Cracker will also be contributing to this area (or any other industrial facility for that matter). States are not required to take into consideration the cumulative impacts of multiple facilities that work congruently. Nor do they take into consideration cumulative health impacts of long term exposure. Plus, the DEP fails to consider particulate matter less than 0.1 microns which have been demonstrated to have greater toxic effects on the human body.

(In 2016, another Plant at Natrium leaked 17,000 gallons of chlorine gas that prompted the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents and were cited for multiple safety violations.)

Table 4. Proposed changes in Annual Emissions

Table 4 (taken from the WVDEP’s Engineering Evaluation/Fact Sheet) shows the change in annual emissions in the air permit modification.

Under this permit modification, Natrium is set to increase emissions of Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), Particulate Matter less than 10 microns (PM10), Particulate Matter (PM), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and total Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) which are carcinogens. Table 4 shows the changes between the current emissions and the permit modification. While at a glance, these number seem small, but keep in mind these limits are measured by Tons Per Year (TPY).

Due to the fact that air patterns along the Ohio River move in a northern direction, we are highly concerned about the cumulative impacts of air pollution form these proposed petrochemical facilities on communities in the area, especially Moundsville. Our region is also subject to air inversions. An inversion traps air pollution, such as smog, close to the ground making greater risk of exposure to human populations.


NOTICE — The application, interim permit review documents, engineering evaluation/fact sheet and draft permit can be downloaded at:


Comments on the proposed application will be accepted until the close of the public meeting on March 27. All written comments should be addressed to Joseph R. Kessler, WVDEP – DAQ, 601 57th Street, SE, Charleston, WV 25304; or sent to:


Please include the applicant’s name and permit application number — Blue Racer Midstream, LLC, R13-2896F — along with your name, return address and daytime telephone number. Please also indicate any organization on behalf of which your comments are submitted.

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