Following a power outage at the facility, Chevron Richmond refinery is releasing a plume of black smoke that is visible throughout the area on Monday afternoon.
Chevron posted a statement on social media at 4:15 p.m., blaming the flare on a power outage in a portion of their plant. Health officials from the county attested that at 3:45 p.m., the refinery informed them of the flaring.
A Community Warning System Level 1 has been triggered as a result of the flare’s visibility and the smoke it was producing.
A hazardous materials team was sent to the refinery to conduct an investigation after Contra Costa Health officials reported seeing smoke in the neighboring community. There aren’t any health advisories in effect right now. Chevron made it clear in its statement that flares are controlled safety devices that are necessary for the refinery to run efficiently.
According to chief meteorologist Paul Heggen of KPIX, the smoke plume is heading west. The EPA and Purple Air monitor data show that there hasn’t been a discernible decline in ground-level air quality.
The air quality near the refinery is currently rated as moderate by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which has not issued an alert regarding the incident. District representatives have verified that inspectors are present at the scene, supporting first responders while looking into and recording any infractions of air quality regulations. Four complaints about the incident were received by the district as of about 4:30 p.m.
The video of the incident went viral on social media. Several X users reacted to it. One user wrote, “Too early to know if this is dangerous or not. Looks wicked though.”
Another user wrote, “More CA crap… this will end up as another reason for them to go electric, not realizing that without these oil refineries, the leftists won’t have makeup to hide their insecurities.”