Richmond refinerys

Richmond refinerys (Photo credit: Lora Parks)

Recent Flaring at Richmond's Chevron Refinery Causes Concern

Jon Bristow
March 19, 2019 - 12:52 pm

People living in the area of the Chevron refinery in Richmond are increasingly concerned about the huge fiery flares that were seen recently rising from the facility. 

Some of that flaring has turned into the filing of formal government complaints, but Chevron says not to worry, the flaring pushes the emissions high into the air.

Officials say that they are monitoring the air quality. 

“There has been increased flaring and we are aware of it and, of course, closely watching it,” Christine Rosales with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said. “Part of that is that they’re bringing on a new hydrogen plant, so that has caused some additional flaring.”

Specific chemicals that are released into the air may not be known for months, she said. 

There were several occasions last year when the leaping flames could be seen at the refinery, prompting many phone calls. There was flaring there in January and last month as well.

"We are concerned and we are scrutinizing those. We have lots of monitoring data," said Rosales, adding that no violations have been issued. 

In October, there was an underground fire in Chevron's gas line vault in Bay Point that forced the evacuation of thousands of people. 

"We want to assure our neighbors that flares are highly regulated safety devices, designed to relieve pressure during the refining processes and help keep our equipment and plants operating safely," Chevron said to KCBS Radio in a statement.