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Acid Spill At Tesoro Refinery Near Martinez Contained

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MARTINEZ (BCN) – Officials at Tesoro’s Golden Eagle refinery near Martinez are reporting that about 84 gallons of sulfuric acid that leaked Friday has been contained.

The acid spilled from a tank into a concrete basin on the plant’s property. The spill, first reported shortly before 11:30 a.m., has been contained and no off-site impact is expected, Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Specialist Eric Johnson said.

The refinery, which is located at 150 Solano Way in unincorporated Contra Costa County between Martinez and Concord, is required to report spills to regulatory agencies whenever they exceed 63 gallons, or 1.5 barrels, even if there is no risk to public health, Johnson said.

The acid was leaking from a pipe coming from a tank and going into a concrete secondary containment area, refinery spokesman Ken Dami said.

The containment area is large enough that even if all the acid leaked out of the tank, it would still be fully contained, Dami said.

A vacuum truck was at the refinery Friday afternoon removing the acid and crews were working to repair the leak.

“There were no injuries, no off-site impact, no environmental impact and no community impact,” Dami said.

“When they notify us of these things, it’s a good thing because it means they’re complying with the notification system,” Johnson said.

He added that the spill was not an indication that there was a problem at the refinery.

The leak, however, came just two days after a total power outage at the refinery that caused the plant to shut down, a process that included excessive flaring.

Giant flames shot out of the refinery’s flares and a huge cloud of black smoke rose into the sky Wednesday afternoon and evening, prompting health officials to sound the sirens to notify people in nearby communities that they should shelter in place.

No injuries or health impacts were reported as a result of that incident either, according to the county’s Hazardous Materials Program Director Randy Sawyer.

The cause of the power outage is still under investigation, but Dami said that the safety measures in place to handle the event worked exactly as they were supposed to and greatly minimized community impact.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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