RICHMOND – A large plume of black smoke was visible for miles in the Bay Area on Monday afternoon after flaring was reported at the Chevron refinery in Richmond.
The flaring activity, which happened over a period of roughly five hours, was triggered by a loss of power to a portion of the facility, Chevron said in a social media post.
“Our workforce is still working to safely recover operations impacted from the earlier loss of power,” Chevron said. “While we hope to avoid it, intermittent flaring is a possibility as we continue to make operational adjustments.”
A Community Warning System, or CWS, Level 1 was issued due to the visibility of the flaring. A CWS Level 1 requires no action by the public, according to Chevron.
Chevron notified Contra Costa Health of the flaring around 3:45 p.m., said CCH spokesman Karl Fischer.
“We know that smoke is visible in the community around the refinery,” Fischer said.
Contra Costa Health dispatched a hazardous materials team to the refinery at 841 Chevron Way. As of 6:05 p.m., the team was at the facility and monitoring the activity, the agency said in a social media post.
“Air monitoring does not show any public health impact at this time,” the agency said.
Chevron must file a report with CCH within 72 hours, said John Gioia, a Contra Costa County supervisor and Bay Area Air Quality Management District board member.
Gioia visited the scene Monday. He noted that the smoke “had gone up pretty high and was drifting over the Bay toward Marin.” CCH officials were in touch with their counterparts in Marin County, Gioia said.
In addition to the hazmat team, the air district was monitoring the situation at the refinery.
“There will be an investigation that could lead to fines and penalties,” the county supervisor said.
Check back for updates.