Several recent unrelated flaring incidents at Chevron's Richmond Refinery resulted in multiple Level 1 community alert warnings going out to residents notifying them of an "upset" and flaring at the facility.
Chevron spokesperson Caitlin Powell said the flaring events, which occurred on New Year's Eve, last Saturday, and again on Monday just before noon, were the result of unrelated events with only the first event lasting longer than a few minutes.
"All of the events were Level 1 which is the lowest level and requires no action from the public, and there was no impact on air quality," Powell said.
An "upset" typically refers to an incident that triggers flaring–which is a safety device used to eliminate excess pressure buildup in the refinery.
Whenever pressure in the plant begins to rise, the material is diverted to a relief system where it is burned in flares. These flares turn hydrocarbon vapors into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
A statement released by Chevron said, "Our employees worked quickly to stop the flaring. As required for any visible flaring, the facility issued a Community Warning System Level 1 notification to keep residents informed. Level 1 is the lowest on the CWS scale and requires no public action. Chevron places the highest priority on the protection of employees, communities, and the environment. Flares are safety devices used in refineries to relieve pressure during the refining process and help keep our equipment and plants operating safely."
None of Chevron's recent flaring is related to an event in November that resulted in visible flames and smoke coming from the refinery.
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