RICHMOND (CBS SF) — Contra Costa Health Services reported gas flaring at the Chevron refinery in Richmond Tuesday night.
Public health officials said via Twitter, around 8:35 p.m., that they were getting complaints of odor in the vicinity.
Health officials said a hazardous materials team is responding and monitoring air in the area.
According to Contra Costa HazMat, which monitors the air and the refineries; the flaring started at about 6:45 p.m. They have been getting calls about the smell of sulfur dioxide in the air from members of the community.
Contra Costa County health officials were out in the neighborhoods Tuesday night monitoring air quality to ensure the air is safe to breathe and that there is no need to shelter in place.
Chevron officials confirmed the flaring via Twitter.
A spokeswoman at the Chevron refinery said Tuesday night that she did not know how long the flaring was going to continue or what exactly was causing the flaring.
At about 9:30 p.m., the Contra Costa HazMat team said air quality levels in the area were normal.
Chevron spokeswoman Leah Casey said:
“Chevron understands that there is concern over some visible flaring that occurred at the Richmond Refinery this evening. Flaring activity has stopped. Although the sight of the flare may cause concern, we want to assure our neighbors that occasional flaring is an important part of keeping the refinery running safely. Flares are a safety device used in refineries to relieve pressure during the refining processes and help keep our equipment and plants operating safely.”
Casey said the community is encouraged to visit www.fenceline.org/richmond to view real-time air quality data and can call (510) 242-2127 for any odor-related concerns.
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.