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Richmond Chevron refinery flaring draws violation notices from air quality regulators

Communities still reeling after Richmond refinery spews black smoke during flaring incident
Communities still reeling after Richmond refinery spews black smoke during flaring incident 03:45

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued four notices of violation to Chevron connected to Monday's flaring episode at its Richmond refinery.

Three of the violations were for visible emissions and one was for a public nuisance violation, an air district spokesperson said Wednesday morning.

The district was notified about the flaring at 3:42 p.m. Monday. People across the Bay Area reported heavy smoke and flames coming from at least three smokestacks.

Chevron said a partial power failure caused the flaring, which is typically the burning of excess gases.

ALSO READ: Residents concerned after Richmond refinery spews black smoke into air during flaring incident   

The heavy smoke triggered a Community Warning System Level 1 warning issued by Contra Costa County. The warning didn't require any action and no one was evacuated. The air district said Chevron reported the flaring stopped at 2:03 a.m. Tuesday.

An air district spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing and more violations may be issued.

Chevron emailed the following statement Wednesday about the air district's action:

We are aware of the Air District action and continue to work with local agencies and investigate the event to avoid similar outages in the future. The safety of our workforce, our communities, our facilities and the environment is our highest priority.

Flares are highly regulated safety devices and are an important part of keeping the facility running safely. We continue to comply with County hazardous material notification requirements, including issuing a CWS Level 1 notification for Monday's event, which requires no action by the public. Importantly, during the event, numerous air quality measurements were taken by responding entities at the facility and in nearby neighborhoods. These measurements remained under regulatory limits and below California health standard limits. You can also view real-time air quality data at

For more information on the case, go to     

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