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Superior council supports rebuild of Husky, new safety improvements to come

SUPERIOR, WI– We’re learning more about new safety improvements at the Husky Refinery in Superior and what it’s going to take to get the facility back up and running.

More than a year after the fire stopped operation, the Superior City Council is supporting its rebuild but says safety is the top priority.

Husky Refinery officials say the facility is taking “leaps and bounds” in improving safety measures for workers and the community following an explosion that injured 21 workers in April 2018.

“It’s safety and environmental improvements that we will be going through specifically,” says Husky General Manager, Kollin Schade in City Council chambers Tuesday night.

It’s an incident officials say could have been prevented. Schade says, “Anytime you have a human-machine interface there is a chance that mistakes can be made.”

Along with installing new automated systems and additional repairs to equipment that was previously planned, Husky has some other plans.

“We’re going to do some upgrades to the metallurgy of the slide valve itself. Some specifically slide position on the slide valve. We’re providing cognitive training for operator training.” Those measures taken after a worn valve is to blame for the initial explosion.

When it comes to alternatives to the controversial Hydrogine Flouride tank, Husky’s General Manager says it’s not about cost. “The alternative technologies introduce significant risks of the refinery and are not yet proven technology within our field.”

In spite of that, Husky has promised several safety upgrades to their holding tank for the potentially deadly chemical and that they will continue to look into alternatives as they are created.

The City Council voted unanimously to support the rebuild of the refinery Tuesday with strict measures.

City Councilor, Dan Olson who created the amendment to bring before the council says the rebuild must happen “in the safest possible way that protects our citizens, our neighbors-Duluth, and our environment.”

Husky isn’t expected to be fully operational until 2021.

As the rebuild happens they will be implementing the safety measures to ensure another incident like last year never happens again.


Jessie Slater

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