Inside Saturday's Sunoco Eagle Point Demolition

What West Deptford residents can expect from the project, including plans for the future of the facility.

The Eagle Point plant will transform into a storage and transportation hub for Sunoco, a spokesman said. Credit: Bryan Littel.
The Eagle Point plant will transform into a storage and transportation hub for Sunoco, a spokesman said. Credit: Bryan Littel.
Saturday's planned demolition of equipment at the Sunoco Eagle Point refinery raised a number of questions about the process among West Deptford residents and those in neighboring towns.

Patch spoke with Jeff Shields, Communications Manager for Sunoco Logistics, to get a sense of the scope of the project. 

Project overview

The fractionator that is coming down will be imploded via a series of explosives placed at stress points within the structure. It dates back to 1949 and was used to refine crude oil into other petroleum products.

The unit was officially taken offline by Sunoco in December 2009, and its removal is part a larger project that will conclude in April 2014, transforming Eagle Point from a refinery into a logistical hub.

"We’re trying to maximize Eagle Point as a terminal" for the storage and transportation of petroleum products, Shields said, "and we also have some similar-type plans for storage in Marcus Hook," Pennsylvania.

Shields said that Eagle Point's West Deptford location still leaves it "well-positioned in terms of proximity to transit hubs" for shipping the petroleum products Sunoco will house there "by barge, rail, or truck."

Existing refinery equipment that was not demolished was sold for re-use or scrap, Shields said.

Environmental impact

Shields said that plans for the implosion have been approved by local officials from West Deptford, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the New Jersey Department of Labor.

Shields said residents should not anticipate exposure to any harmful materials from the demolition, including asbestos.

"For all demolition we do, we have to have proper asbestos remediation, and that’s been performed and inspected," Shields said.

Shields also said the company has considered the noise impact on the community, even simulating a sound-only "test shot" at Red Bank Elementary School in December, under the supervision of the Department of Labor.

"I was there for that, and what it sounds like is kind of a far-off shotgun blast in the forest," Shields said.

"We just don’t expect any community impact, health, or noise or otherwise."
Angelina Brown January 24, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Why isn't the NJ DEP or Region 2 EPA involved as well? It is a Superfund Site after all. Think of all the dangerous heavy metals that could be released as well like lead and mercury. I don't think people realize how polluted that site actually is.
Harry Knowles January 24, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Superfund site?, really? Could u help me find where you found this listed as a superfund site?
Nancy Barna January 25, 2014 at 09:45 AM
Harold Sullivan January 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Anyone believing the officials' assurances of safety around this demolition need to remember Christie Whitman, lying through her teeth, telling folks to go back to work - the air around Ground Zero was safe.


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