RICHMOND (CBS SF) Chevron has agreed to pay the Bay Area Air Quality Management District $190,000 to settle air quality violations at its Richmond refinery prior to the fire there last August, air quality officials announced Wednesday.

The civil settlement covers 19 violations at the refinery reported between 2010 and August 2012 and aren’t linked to the August 6 fire that spewed toxic smoke into the air and sent about 15,000 area residents to local hospitals, according to air quality officials.

The violations covered in the settlement included record-keeping errors, flaring and gas and oil releases into the air detected by the air district monitors positioned at the boundaries of the refinery, district spokesman Aaron Richardson said.

He said Chevron has since taken action to correct each of the issues. In some cases, the refinery had to shut down equipment in order to remedy the violations, but the facility itself did not shut down, Richardson said.

“Refineries have thousands of components and they require strict oversight to ensure the facility maintains its emissions limits,” said air district executive officer Jack Broadbent.

“This penalty against Chevron is intended to remind them that they need to be vigilant in the maintenance and operation of the refinery.”

A separate investigation into air quality violations at the refinery during last August’s fire is ongoing.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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