RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) – Large plumes of smoke are visible in the East Bay as Chevron works to address flaring reported at the refinery in Richmond Friday.
Chevron reported excessive flaring around 11:48 a.m. to the Contra Costa County Hazmat Team.
The Hazmat team responded to the scene at 841 Chevron Way to conduct air monitoring and to assess the scene.
Chevron confirmed a disruption at one of its processing units resulted in flaring. The heavy smoke a potential health hazard for people with respiratory conditions, but hazardous materials specialist maria duazo says the weather actually helped push the smoke out — and the flaring eventually stopped.
“The smoke had gone up. So, it was kind up. And, when one of my teams was investigating, they noticed that the smoke was headed out towards the water, and fortunately not towards the community,” Hazmat specialist Maria Duazo said. “So atmospheric conditions kind of warranted that if there was any odors, or anything that would have impacted the community, it had blown away from the community.”
Chevron issued a community warning system level one, the lowest level on the scale. Flaring is a safety device used to relieve pressure during the refining process.
Duazo says her teams ran tests for toxic matter and came up empty.
particulates, and they were also looking to see if there were any sulfur containing compounds, either hydrogen sulfide or sulfur dioxide, because we had indications that there could have been some sulfur containing compounds, which then would have caused a rotten egg odor, or like an odor like burnt matches.”
Chevron says intermittent flaring is still possible, but for now health services says it does not intend to send out a health advisory.