RICHMOND (KRON) — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says the flares seen over the Richmond Chevron refinery Thursday night started with a problem in the de-asphalting unit. Chevron officials say they had to close the unit and release gases in four flares to prevent a more serious problem.
The gases are now coming out of just one flare. Hazardous Materials inspectors are on the scene.
There is no official “Shelter in Place” order in effect but officials say if you are sensitive to poor air quality, you should stay inside.
Chevron Richmond describes the incident as a flare and says it is not an emergency.
“There has been visible flaring from the Richmond refinery this evening,” Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall says in a written statement. “We understand that the community has been concerned about the flaring activity.
“We had a process unit that needed to be depressurized, creating a visible flare. The flare is part of a safety system which enables us to safely shut down a unit. We are in the process of shutting down this unit now.
“In flaring conditions, it is normal practice to release quantities of water vapor (steam) to assist with the flare quality. This can take on the appearance of smoke.
“The flaring has now stopped. There may be intermittent flaring this evening as we continue to safely bring down the unit.
“There has been no impact to the community.”
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