Wood River Refinery settles pollution case over mercury, fecal bacteria discharged in Mississippi River

New pollution controls will be installed as a result of a settlement between the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Phillips 66 Co., ConocoPhillips Co. and WRB Refining LP.

On Monday Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the agreement, which came after her office filed a complaint and consent order Oct. 21 in Madison County Circuit Court about violations at the Wood River Refinery in Roxana.

According to the complaint, levels of contaminants, including mercury and fecal coliform in wastewater, discharged into the Mississippi River exceeding amounts allowed under state and federal law.

Wastewater from refining operations must be treated by the plant before being discharged.

As part of the order, the refinery owners will construct and operate a disinfection system for wastewater, and implement a desalter brine pre-treatment system that will remove oil and grease from wastewater. The companies also must pay a civil penalty of $125,000.

“This action will help ensure the refinery’s operations do not further contaminate the Mississippi River and jeopardize the river’s ecosystem,” Madigan stated in a news release.

The refinery released a statement about the agreement Monday afternoon.

“Phillips 66 is committed to safe and environmentally sustainable operation of the Wood River Refinery,” according to the statement. “The refinery has worked cooperatively with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and Illinois EPA on this settlement agreement. The agreement identifies and acknowledges the improvements the refinery has already made to improve the refinery’s wastewater treatment performance, as well as outlines additional investments the refinery is committed to implement which will make the refinery’s wastewater treatment system capabilities even more robust.”