Chevron crews have begun installing the first of three air quality monitoring stations equipped to track toxic gases in Richmond coming from the company's local refinery, company officials announced this week.
The equipment is being installed in a residential North Richmond neighborhood under a 2010 tax settlement agreement between the oil company and the city of Richmond to provide air quality monitoring stations throughout the city.
Chevron officials said the first off-site air monitoring system is expected to collect and report air quality data by mid-September.
Two more air monitoring stations are planned in the Point Richmond and Atchison Village neighborhoods.
The monitoring systems are able to detect a wider variety of chemicals than fence-line monitors installed at Chevron's Richmond refinery in April, according to city officials.
According to a statement from Chevron, the fence-line monitors have shown that "air quality in Richmond is very good," with no measurements near or above state-mandated air toxicity limits.
The lack of air monitors around the refinery was also revealed very publicly when a massive fire at the refinery last August sent a toxic smoke cloud over Richmond and prompted some 15,000 residents to seek hospital treatment.
Last month, Chevron agreed to pay the Bay Area Air Quality Management District $190,000 for 19 air quality violations detected at the Richmond refinery prior to the August fire.
BAAQMD officials say a separate investigation into air quality violations at the refinery during the blaze is ongoing.
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