UDS Settles Suit

PITTSBURG, Calif. -- San Antonio-based Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. (UDS) will upgrade pollution controls or close a Pittsburg industrial yard where petroleum coke dust has blown or washed into Bay-Delta waters and neighboring properties, according to a lawsuit settlement obtained by the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times.

The suit pressured UDS to install equipment to trap dust from the coke mounds, cutting pollution into New York Slough, part of a sensitive fish nursery area. The company also pledged that within 18 months it would clean up the site with state-of-the-art controls or close the shoreline facility, the report said.

The lawsuit was initially filed against Tosco Corp. by the San Francisco BayKeeper, an environmental watch group, which then sued UDS when it acquired Tosco last year.

Ultramar's Golden Eagle refinery east of Martinez produces the coke, a refining byproduct, and sends it to the Pittsburg yard for storage and loading onto ships. As a short-term solution, Ultramar installed dikes to trap runoff, built walls around the coke piles and installed sprayers on ship loading equipment to knock down dust.

Ultramar spokeswoman Cheryl Johnston said the settlement was reasonable. "The site has improved substantially," she said.
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