Level 1 refinery incident concerns Richmond residents

Level 1 refinery incident concerns Richmond residents
A cloud of smoke hangs on the horizon visible at 23rd Street and San Pablo Avenue yesterday afternoon due to a brief flaring at the Richmond Chevron Refinery.

A wafting cloud of dark smoke over Richmond yesterday afternoon rang alarm bells for some residents who were concerned there had been a chemical release from Chevron.

Chevron refinery confirmed there had been some brief flaring but that it was a low-level incident and did not impact residents.

"Chevron Richmond experienced a short duration of flaring due to a process upset. Our personnel worked quickly to minimize and stop the flaring. A Community Warning System (CWS) Level 1 was issued to keep residents informed. Level 1 is the lowest on the CWS scale," said Ross Allen, External Affairs Advisor at Chevron.  
By definition, Flaring is a safety mechanism that burns off gases before releasing them into the atmosphere.

"Flaring is an important part of keeping the Refinery running safely. Flares are safety devices used in refineries to relieve pressure during the refining process and help keep our equipment and plants operating safely. Members of the community can visit www.richmondairmonitoring.org to view real-time air quality data," Allen said."

There were reports on social media from people who said they saw smoke coming from the Chevron Refinery.

"Me and my kids saw big black clouds of smoke and the white smoke up out of the refinery area around 2:30 pm yesterday," said Nicole Welch.

Data from various monitoring maps did not show air quality was affected by the incident.

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