Turnaround at HollyFrontier refinery brings thousands of workers, economic benefit to El Dorado

EL DORADO, Kan. (KWCH) Several weeks ago, Eyewitness News reported about a piece of good economic news in El Dorado, highlighted by a unique challenge.

In late September an urgent call for available housing in El Dorado came with an expectation of thousands of workers making their way to the town.

The reason is turnaround happening at the HollyFrontier refinery. This involved bringing part of the refinery's operations to a stop.

Like most operations, gas refineries need maintenance and upgrades. With the turnaround happening every few years, HollyFrontier shuts down half of its facility so literally thousands of workers from all over the U.S. can spend months fixing and upgrading the refinery. While in El Dorado, they spend money in the community, benefiting local businesses like Brewco Coffee House and Dilly Deli.

"(Turnaround) employs a lot of people in town and helps with our business that comes in as well," Brewco Coffee House and Dilly Deli owner Kaytlan Berry says.

Refinery Plant Manager Darrin Rains says the turnaround "is the culmination of years of planning and efforts to get an opportunity to make sure the refinery is prepared to operate safely for the next five years."

"We have 2,400 contractors throughout the plant between days and nights," he says. "That does not include employees and routine contractors in the facility."

He says the turnaround is also "a fantastic revenue generator for the city.

"The police department, the local city officials and the community itself are just wonderful to work with us to manage the logistics of having this many people in the area at once and it's just a huge amount of pride for us to be a part of this community," Rains says.