Safe and Efficient Disposal

Our plants are operated by personnel trained in wastewater management, and each of our facilities has a wastewater plant for treating process water and stormwater. Valero uses specialized bacteria that naturally digest oil and other components in our waste streams, before discharging the water or reusing it to irrigate nearby fields or in habitat tanks at local aquariums. 

A corporate wastewater technology adviser works with each plant to ensure our systems are designed and operated to the highest standards and to meet very stringent discharge limits.

Image Source: Texas State Aquarium


Reducing at the Source

We continue to work with stakeholders to improve our performance, while also reducing consumption by:

  • Taking a risk-based approach to water management and integrating water strategy and water security into our long-term planning and business processes, under the supervision of management.
  • Engaging with local governments, industry associations suppliers and regulatory agencies to develop innovative solutions in water management and conservation in water-stressed areas.
  • Assessing and managing regional water risks through updated sustainability assessments.
  • Ensuring compliance with water management laws and regulations.
  • Reporting on risks posed by water scarcity on each facility, as applicable.
  • Protecting existing water resources through sound water management policies.
  • Recycling and reusing water to improve efficiency.

Most of our water consumption takes place in our refining operations. Based on the World Resources (WRI) Water Risk Atlas tool, Aqueduct, we determined that only two of our 15 refineries are located in regions with high baselines water stress. Reduction and mitigation initiatives include the evaluation of reused municipal wastewater for cooling tower purposes and acquisition of secured water rights. Water scarcity can be risk not only to communities but also to the refining operations, as water is needed for cooling, heating and processing.

Securing Our Operations

  • At our Wilmington refinery, we are installing facilities to use treated municipal wastewater to supplement our cooling tower makeup water. Upon project completion, we will save up to 420 million gallons of potable water pr year, equivalent to roughly the annual amount consumed by 3,800 U.S. households. 23 
  • Our Three Rivers refinery recycles treated wastewater for use in irrigation for hay production.
    Welcome Renewables teaser
  • Our Corpus Christi refineries pay into a broad industry fund that provides water-supply security and supports research and plans for the construction of a desalination facility to serve industrial users.
  • Our Welcome ethanol plant was one of the industry's first operators to achieve "zero discharge" of wastewater by recovering and recycling process water and stormwater.
  • Process water and stormwater are treated as necessary before discharging and reusing. Our wastewater treatment plants are generally comparable to and as effective as those operated by most cities.

23 For more information, see SASB report on page 76.