RICHMOND. Flames, smoke and foul odors rose into the rainy skies of West Contra Costa on Sunday due to a process disruption at a Chevron refinery.
The Richmond City Public Safety Alert, posted at 9:06 a.m., said excess flaring began at the refinery at 8:25 a.m. and continues.
Observers posted on social media that the fire was on fire.
Here’s a super dark photo of TWO emergency flashes that would have produced massive black clouds of smoke if it hadn’t been for the rain that washed away all emissions from the sky into the areas of the settlements along the fence line … pic.twitter.com/kUH3dfiJ3H
– Matt Renner (@ Matthew4300) October 24, 2021
…@supejohngioia Do you smell a strong strange smell on the street (I’m in Pinola), can you look into it? Called @ PGE4Me they say they get reports from San Pablo, Pinole, Richmond. Refers to @Chevron can flare up?
– Dr. Catherine Cronquist Browning (@cat_c_b) October 24, 2021
UPDATE at 15:45: @AirDistrict says Chevron’s flaring is associated with problems in the CHP unit causing failures in other units. Flaring was both continuous and intermittent. Call your District Smell Service at 1-800-334-ODOR to file a complaint if you see or smell it. @CoCoHealth monitoring pic.twitter.com/Vw6ft79Rgm
– John Joya (@supejohngioia) October 24, 2021
In a social media post at 3:45 pm, Contra Costa County Superintendent John Joya described the torch burning as “continuous and intermittent” and added that Contra Costa Health Services are monitoring the incident and residents who see or smell must call. 1-800-334-ODOR to file a complaint.
In a statement on Sunday, Chevron spokesman Brian Hubinger said the refinery was experiencing intermittent flaring due to a plant failure.
“Our people are working to minimize and stop flaring. The Level 1 Public Alert System – one of the lowest on the scale – has been released earlier to keep residents informed, ”Hubinger said in part.
According to this news agency, several torches have been registered at the refinery over the past year, including in May this year, as well as in August and November last year. In July, the Bay Area Air Quality Management Board voted to mandate the Chevron Richmond refinery and the separate Martinez refinery to use “wet scrubbers” to clean up hazardous particulate matter.
Anyone with questions can call the general refinery number 510-242-2000, inquire about specific noises or odors at 510-242-2127, visit the refinery air monitoring website at https://www.richmondairmonitoring.org or write to email [email protected]
Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.