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Major Accidents at Chemical/Refinery Plants

in Contra Costa County


Company

Date Accident Occurred
Accident Description Onsite Impact Offsite Impact
Chevron

August 6, 2012

# 4 Crude Unit Fire. An 8" line from the atmospheric distillation column with hot diesel like material leaked and caught fire.

5 Chevron emergency responders were treated for minor burns, and received first aid.

More than 15,000 people sought medical attention.

Phillips 66

June 15, 2012

A sour water tank (T-294) was overpressured resulting in a split in the top seam of the fixed roof tank. Vapors left the tank through the opening until it could be sealed. Chemicals involved included H2S, other sulfur compounds, natural gas, light hydroca

Atmospheric tank T-294 was overpressured resulting in a rupture along approximately 20 feet of the top seam of the roof. The rupture allowed vapors from the tank to exit into the surrounding area. H2S was one of the chemicals detected onsite although ma

Strong sulfur odors were detected by Hazmat IR personnel on Friday in areas from I-80 and the surrounding communities. The highest readings were approximately 1 ppm (as H2S) on I-80, which is a few hundred feet from the storage tank. Readings from 5-20 pp

Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

December 9, 2010

Partial Power outage due to damage at substation led to excess flaring and some unit shut down. CWS 2 activated at 10:31. CCHMP monitored the surrounding area and no hazardous substance was detected. Incident downgraded to CWS 0 at 13:18.

Plant-wide partial power due to fire and later explosion at Switching Station #7.

Significant flaring due to loss of power to mulitple units.

Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

November 10, 2010

Power outage from 3rd party power and steam supplier led to excess flaring and refinery-wide shutdown, very dark smoky plume. At 16:14, CWS 2 and at 16:45 upgraded to CWS 3. CCHMP monitored the surrounding area and took air samples. No hazardous substance was detected.

Complete refinery shutdown, and a grass fire around the flare.

Visible smoke and reports of burnt grass smell in N. Concord.

ConocoPhillips

October 22, 2010

Third party (Air Liquide) hydrogen plant tripped resulting in elevated pressue in the Refinery's fuel gas system, and decreases in available hydrogen and steam to the Refinery. One turbine at the Refinery power plant immediately tripped further reducing a

Overpressured fuel gas system resulted in flaring. Loss of steam and hydrogen resulted in a slow down of some units. Power plant turbined tripped off resulted in smokey flare and further slow down of select operations. No equipment damage was reported.

The BAAQMD received a number of complaints of visible smoke and odor in the area. No contaminants were found in community air samples taken by Refinery personnel. No activity was seen on the Refinery's fenceline monitor.

Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

October 10, 2010

At 12:20, fire on Tank 650 (foul water), contractor was replacing seal. Tank has a 3' diesel to layer for odor control. One Contractor treated for smake inhalation, released same day. No odor reported. All clear at 16:10.

Emergency Operation Center was activated. No reportable quantities of hazardous compounds were exceeded.

visible smoke plume, but air monitoring by Tesoro industrial hygiene yielded non-detect levels.

Reactions Products

May 5, 2008

A brass valve was removed from a bottom of a storage tank partially filled with toluene. The removal looked ot be a theft of the valve over a weekend when no one was at the facility. Over 3,000 gallons of toluene was released. The spill went offsite into a ditch that run through the wetlands between Parchester Village and the Bay. The release was found on Monday morning and the US Coast Guard responded and requested that a shelter-in-place be called. The Parchester siren was sounded and information went out over the media to notify the residents of the shelter-in-place.When Health Services Hazardous Materials Response Team arrived onsite and took measurements of the amount of toluene in the air, the shelter-in-place was lifted. Health Hazardous Materials Programs is classifying this incident as a Community Warning System Level II and a Major Chemical Accident or Release Severity Level II, because if the toluene ignited the damage and consequences of the incident would be major.

The loss of over 3,000 gallons of toluene.

Toluene went offsite into the wetlands. The toluene was in a ditch that runs along the border of Parchester Village. Toluene odors were noticeable in the Parchester Village. Siren was sounded and the residents of Parchester Village were requested to shelter-in-place.

Calpine Los Moedanos Energy Center

May 24, 2007

While overseeing the unloading of a bulk delivery of corrosion inhibitor, approximately 300 gallons of Nalco Trasar 3DT177 (phosphoric acid) was inadvertently unloaded into a storage tank containing about 378 gallons of 12.5% Sodium Hypochlorite solution. The chemical reaction of the two products resulted in a chlorine gas release in which the Field Operator and two other plant employees were exposed to. The three employees were transported via ambulance to the Mt. Diablo Medical Center for observation. Time of injury was reported to be 8:30 a.m.

The incident resulted in a chlorine gas release in which the Field Operator and two other plant employees were exposed to. The three plant employees inhaled chlorine gas resulting in throat irritation and minor chest pains. Three plant employees transported to Mt. Diablo Medical Center for observation. Symptoms identified as moderate throat irritation for all three employees and one of the employees complained of tightness in the chest.

The emergency response team (consisting of local fire, police, paramedics, and the County HAZMAT team) isolated plant entry and perimeter access, removed non-essential personnel off-site, and notified neighboring plants. The facility flushed the neutralized contaminated tank contents to the cooling tower and ventilated affected building.

Shelter-in-place was declared for the area north of the Los Medanos Energy Center for about an hour. No offsite complaints were received. CCHS Hazardous Materials Response Team conducted air monitoring outside of the affected building with the highest level of chlorine at 0.15 ppm. Air sampling conducted at various locations of the plant perimeter indicated non-detect.

ConocoPhillips

March 18, 2007
Sulphur plant shutdown due to electrical failure. XS sulfur to flare. Haze in flare plume. No complaints were received from the community.
Chevron Richmond Refinery

January 15, 2007
"At 5:33 Chevron upgrades incident to Level 3 and sent message that there was a fire at the #4 Crude unit. Initial notification was 5:23 for a Level 2. Operators were in the process of shutting down the plant in preparation for scheduled maintenance.
- Information About the Chevron January 15 Fire
Fire near Vacuum column bottoms pump. One employee was treated for minor burns and released to return to work on the same day. Another employee received on-site treatment for minor skin irritation. Sirens were sounded and TENS Zone 3 & 4 was activated. Unknown amount of hydrocarbons was combusted, resulting in a release of sulfur dioxide. Air monitoring did not indicate adverse air quality impacts.
General Chemical - Richmond

June 23, 2006
The main turbine tripped and the shutdown interlock on the combustion air blower did not work correctly, so the blower pressured up the upstream side of the system which is normally under a vacuum. The plant shut down. Four Chevron employees were exposed. No other public appears to be affected. Wind at the time of the release was blowing towards Chevron.
ConocoPhillips

May 1, 2006
Cogeneration Turbine "C" trippped off. The electrical systems powered from the generator lost power resulting in the shutdown of some units including the wet gas recovery compressor which is believed to have resulted in liquid to the flare system which caused the flare gas recovery compressor to shutdown which resulted in the flaring event. The steam system slumped due to the loss of the "C" turbine which resulted in lower that desired steam to the flare tip resulting in some incomplete combustion or a "smokey" flare. Some units shutdown Smokey Flare for about 10 to 15 minutes
Shell Oil Products U.S Martinez Refinery

March 26, 2006
At 4:15pm, on Sunday 3/26/06, Shell Martinez Refinery reported via the Community Warning System a release of sulfur dioxide gas from the stack of Sulfur Recovery Plant #3 (SRU#3). Community Warning System sirens were sounded. Shell identified the release as a Shelter-in-Place because a visible plume was seen drifting across Shell Avenue and facility personnel at the time believed the plume could pose a health hazard. . TENS zones 3 and 2 were activated.Visible pluming stopped within 15 minutes. Shell Avenue was closed for 25 minutes. Shell downgraded the event to a CWS Level 0 within 40 minutes after the event started. Shutdown SRU#3 briefly to assess for damage, found none, then returned to normal operation. Refinery officials did not report any injuries associated with this event. Refinery officials did not report any visible external damage to equipment. There may have been elevated temperatures in one of the catalyst beds that resulted in producing sulfur dioxide gas. CCHS Hazardous Materials did not receive word of any injuries or offsite impacts associated with this release. Visible plume released from SRU#3 stack. Level 3 called with sirens and TENS activated. Pluming stopped in 15 minutes. Following the notification, Hazardous Materials Program staff responded to the incident within ten minutes by assessing the area around the refinery. Hand held monitoring equipment did not detect any sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. A slight sulfur dioxide odor was detected at Shell Avenue and Marina Vista. Feed to the process was shut off which quickly stopped the visible pluming.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

March 24, 2006
Fire at #2 HDS at the F-20 furnace outlet piping at 15:38 hrs. Operations personnel shut down unit and activatd fire monitors on the unit. Flange failure led to fire and unit shut down No community complaints were received by BAAQMD
Shell Oil Products U.S Martinez Refinery

November 8, 2005
At the FCC Unit, a 1 to 2 foot diameter slurry filter was taken off line to clean the filter. While the maintenance team was in the process of placing the/a clean filter back in the filter unit or housing, they noticed a small leak through the block valve, which quickly became big, and one person was not able to vacate fast enough, the material jet was approximately 200 feet in the air. The event started on 11/8/05 at about 8:24 pm. It was downgraded to a level 0 at about 2:54 am on 11/9/05. The event took so long to get under control because the liquid was hot, about 700F at 80 psig. 150 barrels of material was released and comprised of cat cracked slurry oil (heavy, dark oil) and lighter flushing oil (diesel type). Slurry oil comprised about 1% of total material. One contractor was sent to San Pablo Medical Center with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns on head on arm. No fire occurred. Some flaring occurred, Oil and catalyst slurry spray residue coated neighboring equipment and took days to clean up. Oil/catalyst slurry mist coated vehicles and pavement southwest of the refinery. No offsite injuries reported. Approximately 150 gallons of total material was estimated to travel offsite. No hydrocarbon or H2S was observed in facility air samples. Some flaring occurred and resulted in estimates of 62.6 lbs SO2 and 0.9 lbs Nox from the flare system. Oil droplets were observed on cars and pavement southwest of the refinery.Approximately 3000 insurance claims from community members have been filed as of the 30-day report.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

October 26, 2005
Partial power outage at the refinery around midnight and early morning hours, resulted in upset and flaring at the Chem Plant. Power outage lead to ammonia recovery unit shutdown to reduce acid gas load to sulfur plant. A plume from chemical plant stack was visible from off-site and potentially contained Sulfur Dioxide. Odor patrol from Tesoro was in the Clyde area and reported no odor impact. Ground Level Monitors did not detect any sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

August 24, 2005
Lube oil fire from mini blower near the main blower at FCCU. 3665 pounds of lube oil est. to be combusted in the fire. No injuries. Heavy smoke, one odor complaint from Bay Point.
General Chemical-Richmond

July 26, 2005
A flow meter on a feed to the oleum stripper in the CP Plant developed a leak. The facility estimates that between 2 and 18 pounds of slfur trioxide were released. The CP plant was shut down. The oleum flow was stopped within 3 minutes and the liberation of sulfur trioxide within 15 to 20 minutes. Initially a level 1 called into agencies. A level 2 was called at the close of the event.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

January 12, 2005
Visible emissions of steam and coke dust from No. 5 Boiler Stack due to tube failure. Boiler was shutdown. Tesoro received 2 complaints from the community for the visible emission. Odor patrol indicated theat there were no odors in the surrounding communities (Concord, Vine Hill, Benicia Bridge, and Martinez areas)
ConocoPhillips

October 31, 2004
Plant 19, F-1 flare gas knockout drum line 14 inch flange was opened while process gases were flowing, instead of another flare line flange that emptied and suppose to be opened. Release of process gases and plant emergency called. Hydrogen sulfide and reduced sulfur compounds were released that caused strong odors downwind. Complaints about strong odors came from as fay away as Bay Point. Sirens were sounded and the residents of Crockett and Rodeo were asked to shelter-in-place.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

October 30, 2004
No 5 boiler pluming during start-up of the coker unit after the turnaround. Operational upset during coker start-up and ultimate shutdown. Visible black plume, signigicant pluming of coke dust. Tesoro rec'd one complaint, BAAQMD rec'd five compliants.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

October 14, 2004
Fire at a naphtha transfer pump at 2:45 A.M. At 5:30, the fire is no longer visible and at 6:27 CCHS declares the incident to be "all clear." Fire response personnel were able to isolate tank from the pump. Visible black plume, no odor complaints received by BAAQMD or CCHS. IH detected no chemicals of concern off-site.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

September 16, 2004
Explosion and fire within Tank 745 at 12:03 A.M. The Tank contains sulfuric acid and a floating layer of alkylate. Fire was out at 6:56. CO2 was introduced to tank at 6:42. Sulfuric acid recycling unit was shutdown. 50' to 100' flames, smoke plume straight up, no odor complaints received by BAAQMD or CCHS, one odor report received by Tesoro. IH detected no chemicals of concern off-site.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

July 4, 2004
#5 boiler developed an internal water leak at app.1:42 p.m. and coker flue gas was then diverted directly to the stack. #5 boiler shutdown, coker and crude rate reduced. Visible black plume containing coke dust.
General Chemical Bay Point Works

April 3, 2004
Fire at a storage hangar near packaging building. The fire involved several pallets of chemicals (hydrogen peroxide-30%, nitric acid-69%, ammonium hydroxide-29%, misc. etchants), cased in one-gallon bottles, several 55-gallon drums and 8-pallets of empty bottles. Facility was evacuated. A plume of smoke was visible for 1-2 hours. Community advisory notice was distributed but not shelter-in-place.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

March 2, 2004
Odor complaints were received at the Golden Eagle Refinery and recognized in the Vine Hill area the evening of March 1. The refinery receive additional odor complaints on March 2. Hundreds of odor complaints were received from Bay Point, Pittsuburg, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, and Pleasant. The odors seemed to have originated from the Golden Eagle Refinery. Tesoro was unable to locate the source of the odors. The odors could have originated from some of the areas doing special operations. Tesoro shut down the operations and odors were no longer noticeable. No noticeable impact onsite. Hundreds of odor complaints throughout Central and parts of East County from the north part of the County into Alameda County. The odors were consistent with reduced sulfur compounds. CCHS received information that people were feeling ill from the odors and at least case where a person past out.
Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery

February 20, 2004
Due to problems that occurred at the Foster Wheeler Cogeneration Facility, electrical power was lost at the Golden Eagle Refinery. The refinery shut down and depressured to the flare. This caused incomplete combustion of the flare and large amount of black smoke. The refinery shut down due to the lack of power and sent large quantaties of hydrocarbons to the flares. The flare smoking caused concerns to the community. The smoke in most part was going straight up with some smoke drifting over North Concord.
Chevron Richmond Technology Center

September 16, 2003
Fire at the Tank field (Oronite Drum loading) at 12:41 p.m. While discharging gasoline from a tank truck to 55 gallon drums via a manifold system an ignition occurred in a partially filled drum. Flames quickly spread to the tops of adjacent drums and eventually caused the breach of several drums. It is reported that the Operator and Truck Driver activated the shutdown systems as they evacuated the area. Heat blistered paint on one 60,000 gallon tank in the nearby tank farm area. $150,000 of product loss (400 gal) and equipment damage. Black smoke until the fire was extinguished by CFD.
Chevron

August 9, 2003
North Isomax plant hydrogen recycle compressor, K600 unexpectedly shut down resulted in flaring activity with visible smoke. Shutdown N. Isomax. Odor complaint, 26 persons sought medical attention at Richmond Kaiser.
Tesoro

June 8, 2003
The #5 Boiler developed an internal water leak sufficient to compromise good boiler water level contro. #5 Boiler fuel (waste heat from coker) was then diverted directly to the stack, and #5 Boiler was shutdown. When this occurs coke fines go out the stack. Coke fines continued to go out of the stack from 2200 6/8 to 0600 hours 6/10. It is estimated that 3.4 tons of coke fines went to atmosphere. The refinery is at reduced production, until the #5 boiler is brought back online or temporary boilers can come online. Coke fines were sent to the atmosphere. Complaints of rotten egg and burnt match spells were received.
Shell Martinez Refinery

January 11, 2003
The Flexicoker Unit had a small fire starting about 3pm on 1/11/03. The fire may have involved gas oil or a heavy oil stream. One of the Safety Supervisors thought the smoke was traveling off-site so the bumped it to a level 3, including sirens and a scroll across the TV. Wayne was told that the scroll did not work so well since it blacked out the football game, instead of just scrolling. Paul Andrews responded by telephone and was interviewed by the press. Wayne said that Paul informed the press that Shell conservatively went to a level 3. Shell started their incident investigation, including the RCA over the weekend. Art Kinney is leading the investigation. Small fire, smoke. Smoke potentially traveling offsite. Level 3. Sirens sounded. TV warning message scrolled.
General Chemical-Richmond

September 26, 2002
SO3 release from CP unit, control valve problem, prompting Level 2. Unit shutdown. Plume toward Chevron.
Phillips
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

July 10, 2002
The steam boilers were tripped off, which led to a loss of steam for the refinery. The refinery was shutdown immediately with much of the offgas going to the flares. The flares were overwhelmed and created a lot of smoke and decreased the overall efficiency of the flares. The refinery lost steam and had an emergency shutdown. Smoke, partial burned hydrocarbons, and sulfur compounds impacted the communities downwind. Tormey and Crockett were asked to shelter-in-place. Sirens and the CAN were activated.
Shell
Martinez, CA

April 23, 2002
Sulfur Recovery Unit #3 was being shut down on the morning of 4/23/02 to address concerns about SO2 stack emissions, which were approaching the BAAQMD 250 ppm/hr limit. SRU#3 converts acid gas consisting of SO2 and H2S to elemental sulfur in a catalytic reactor utilizing the "Claus" process. The SRU#3 vent gas is routed through a Shell Claus Offgas Treatment (SCOT) plant for additional treatment. The SCOT-3 vent gas is routed through a catalytic oxidizer to convert remaining H2S to SO2. By 11am all acid gas feed had been removed from SRU#3. Approximately an hour later, at 12:15 p.m. the catalytic oxidizer experienced a temperature excursion (most likely resulting from burning sulfur), which led to a plume from the SCOT-3 stack by 12:30 p.m. At 12:30 p.m., Shell called the incident a Level 1. At 12:35am, the Shell IC upgraded the incident to a CWS Level 3 and sounded sirens. Steam and nitrogen were used to cool the catalytic oxidizer. CCHS field observations identified black plume, which dissipated very quickly and no plume was visible after about 10 or 15 minutes. Shell secured the unit at 12:57 p.m. CCHS called the official "All Clear" at 1:21 p.m. Shutdown SRU#3 pending outcome of investigation and completion of RCA. Smoke released. Level 3 was called with sirens activated. CCHS identified that visible smoke plume stayed elevated and dissipated quickly. Event was over very quickly.
Loctite
Bay Point
Pittsburg, CA

February 21, 2002
Considerable smoke was released from a 55-gallon drum containing intermediate adhesive product (epoxy resin). The smoke was caused by an exothermic runaway reaction (Monkey) that occurred due to addition of excessive hardener to the drum. Drum moved from manufacturing area to outside. Smoke released. Level 3 was called with sirens activated. People living downwind were asked to shelter-in-place.
Chevron
Richmond, CA

January 31, 2002
Release of sulfur dioxide from the #3 SRU plant. A high vapor/liquid flow condition was created by the Isomax #4 H2S plant when a normal heat exchanger backwash was being performed, which caused an interlock plant shutdown at #3 SRU. The momentary release occurred while restarting the plant.(Level 3 initiated by CCHS.) Shutdown Isomax and the #3 SRU. A few calls were reported to the facility expressing concern or inquiring as to the activity taking place. People in Richmond were asked to shelter-in-place.
Ultramar
(now Tesoro)
Martinez, CA

January 26, 2002
Release of sulfur trioxide from the acid plant was released. A malfunction of the sonic meter system to measure concentration of 99% H2SO4. The acid became super saturated with sulfur trioxide, and the sulfur trioxide was released out of the stack. Shutdown their acid operations. No measurable quantities of sulfur trioxide or sulfur dioxide were measured offsite. Sirens and CAN was activated. People in Clyde and North Concord were asked to shelter-in-place.
General Chemical
Richmond, CA

November 29, 2001
The 99.5% sulfuric acid concentration was super saturated, which caused a release of sulfur trioxide. The plant was starting up. Shut down the plant. Sulfur trioxide and sulfur dioxide went offsite and a Level 3 was called. Sirens were activated. People from the communities downwind were asked to shelter-in-place.
Equilon
(Now Shell)
Martinez, CA

October 17, 2001
Cat cracker release of soot, catalyst, and hydrocarbons during another catalytic cracking unit upset (same unit as 10/14, 2001 incident). More than 50,000 lbs hydrocarbons emitted. Cat cracker unit shutdown to do a full investigation. Unit was down for 2 months. Mostly hydrocarbons were released. A Level 3 was called with sirens and CAN being activated. The people in the community downwind were asked to shelter-in-place. Interstate 680 was shutdown for most of the duration of the release. Numerous calls from community.
Equilon
(Now Shell)
Martinez, CA

October 14, 2001
Cat cracker release of soot, catalyst, and hydrocarbons during catalytic cracking unit upset. More than 5,000 lbs hydrocarbons emitted. Cat cracker was starting up and had to discontinue the startup. Soot dusted the Martinez area that is north of the refinery. Odors were smelled over a mile north of the refinery. Level 3 was called with sirens being sounded. CAN was not used, since the incident was over before CAN could be used.
Equilon
(Now Shell)
Martinez, CA

July 18, 2001
An upset occurred in the straight run hydrotreater unit in the light oil processing area. Subsequently, fires occurred in the vacuum flasher heater furnace and crude unit heater furnace. Hydrocarbons, H2S, and smoke released offsite. Level 3 under CWS, sirens activated. Unit upset resulting in unit shutdown. One MRC emergency responder slightly injured when a fire truck fitting struck his leg. Smoke and hydrocarbons released. Level 3 was called with sirens activated.
General Chemical
Richmond, CA

May 1, 2001
Truck hit a power line and GCC lost power. A release of sulfur dioxide occurred when the decomposition chamber went positive. The plant shutdown and had problems when starting up. Another release occurred. Sulfur dioxide went offsite and a Level 3 was called. Sirens and CAN were activated. People were asked to shelter-in-place downwind of the plant.
MBA Polymers
Richmond, CA

October 26, 2000
MBA Polymer recycles plastics from computer components. They cut the plastics and fines are collected in a vent system. The dust from the cutting operation is believed to have found an ignition point and a dust explosion and a fire occurred. One worker was killed and four others injured. The initial concern was a fire, since there is very little hazardous materials handled at the site. The concern was that the by-products of the fire was toxic and when the wind shifted and was going in the direction of a residential area sirens were sounded and telephone calls were made. One employee was killed and there was major impact to the building. Because smoke was impacting the community. Sirens and telephone calls were made after the wind shifted and there was a concern that the smoke was going into the neighborhood.
Tosco
(now Tesoro)
Avon, CA

June 6, 2000
A fire at the coker unit. Naphtha was released from the flushing oil tank and caught on fire. The #5 Boiler was shutdown. Two contractors had minor injuries. Smoke from the fire was visible offsite. With the #5 boiler offline, particulates were released into the air from the stack.
Tosco
(now Tesoro)
Avon, CA

March 22, 2000
A fire occurred at the alkylation unit. A contractor was welding in the alkylation unit with a fire watch spraying down any errant sparks. The firewater caught on fire because flammable hydrocarbons backed into the fire waterline. Two contractors were injured. None.
Tosco
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

February 7, 2000
Catacarb leak and hydrogen fire at the unicracking unit. The fire lasted approximately 10 minutes. Localized corrosion caused a pipe to fail and dumped the Catacarb from the unit and then hydrogen was released and ignited. Unit shutdown loss of the supply of Catacarb. Smoke visible offsite.
Tosco
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

January 15, 2000
Flaring from the MP-30 ground flare for approximately 2 hours. The low level point in the header caused the flaring. Unit shutdown. Black smoke visible offsite.
Tosco
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

December 16, 1999
Overpressure of the flare header system where the MP-30 ground flare was used. There was a low point in the flare header that accumulated liquids. Unit shutdown. Black smoke that could be seen as far away as Emeryville. People in Rodeo were asked to shelter-in-place.
Chevron Richmond, CA

March 25, 1999
Isomax fire that required the sounding of sirens. A valve stem blew out that caused a release of hydrocarbons and hydrogen sulfide that ignited, resulting in a major fire. Shutdown a major part of the refinery - two people slightly injured fighting the fire. Smoke was visible over much of the North Bay Area - Disruption in traffic - Sirens sounded, people were asked to shelter-in-place.
Tosco
(now (now Tesoro)
Avon, CA

February 23, 1999
50 crude unit flash fire killing 4 people and seriously injuring another. The shutdown of 50 crude and then later the shutdown of the whole refinery. Four people died with another seriously injured. None.
Tosco
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

April 23, 1997
An upset in the distillation unit sent hydrocarbons to the sulfur recovery units. The sulfur recovery units released hydrogen sulfide. Shutdown parts of the refinery until the problem was found and the different units were stabilized. People were asked to shelter-in-place in Tormey and Crockett.
Tosco (now Tesoro)
Martinez, CA

January 27, 1997
A hydrocracker had a run away reaction that raised the temperature and pressure of the outlet gases. An outlet pipe failed and caused an explosion and fire. One worker was killed and forty-six people sought medical attention. One worker was killed and forty-six other sought medical attention. Many of the people seeking medical attention were injured while running away from the explosion and fire. The outlet piping and some of the equipment and instrumentation was damaged. The hydrocracker unit was shutdown until the unit could be repaired. There was little of no offsite impact from this explosion and fire. People were not asked to take any protective action, such as sheltering place.
Unocal (now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

May, 1996
A hot coke drum was dumped and a fire was initiated. Fire damage to the coker unit. The coker unit was run at partial capacity until repairs could be made. People were asked to shelter-in-place in Tormey and Crockett. A few people in Vallejo sought health care assistance complaining of the smoke and odors.
Shell
Martinez, CA

April 1, 1996
Fire at their cracked gas unit. The fire lasted for over 3 hours. Fire damage was extensive onsite. The unit was shutdown until repairs could be made. People were asked to shelter-in-place downwind of the refinery. The smoke from the fire impacted the area downwind.
Air Products
Martinez, CA

February 1, 1996
Piping failed because of corrosion and a release of hydrogen occurred with an explosion. The fire lasted approximately 10 minutes. Shutdown of the hydrogen unit. Noise of the explosion was heard offsite for well over a mile. Some minor damage offsite.
Unocal
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

June 16, 1995
Tank fire that continued to burn off and on for approximately 1 week. Response from the facility along with the local fire departments. Smoke impacted the communities of Crockett, Rodeo, CA
and Tormey. The communities were asked to shelter-in-place. Odors lingered in the communities for a week after the fire. Unocal put up approximately 100 people in motels until the incident was 100% secure.
Unocal
(now ConocoPhillips)
Rodeo, CA

August 22 - September 6, 1994
A column used to strip carbon dioxide developed a leak. The column continued to operate for a 16-day period. The hole in the column became larger where a solution of Catacarb® was atomized and released. Estimates of between 80-225 tons of Catacarb® was released. The Catacarb® affected the health of many of the workers downwind of the column. At the end, the hydrocracker processing unit was shutdown. The release impacted the communities of Crockett, Rodeo, CA
and Tormey. Many homes and cars were cleaned to remove the Catacarb® solution. A health clinic setup by Unocal in Crockett treated over 1200 people over the next year. Some people are still complaining of health effects from the release.
General Chemical
Richmond, CA

July 26, 1993
Overheating of a tank car of 35% oleum that released between 4 and 8 tons of sulfur trioxide over a three hour and forty-five minute period. The sulfur trioxide formed a sulfuric acid cloud. The loss of a tank car of 35% oleum and the shutting down of their processing. Over 22,000 people sought medical assistance with 15-22 people staying in the hospital overnight. People were asked to shelter-in-place downwind of the release.
Rhône Poulenc
(now Rhodia)
Martinez, CA

May, 1992
Sulfuric acid mixed with hydrocarbon spill and fire. The fire was difficult to put out because the sulfuric acid would break down the foam used by the fire fighters. One employee was killed and another was seriously injured. Fire damaged some of the equipment onsite. The man who died and the one who was injured were Rhône Poulenc employees. Smoke did go offsite and impacted the community. The smoke also included the degradation products of the sulfuric acid (e.g., sulfur trioxide, sulfur dioxide). Shelter-in-place was called for the community downwind of the fire.