Bay Area air district issues violations over Valero flaring incidents

BENICIA (BCN) -- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued six violations against the Valero Benicia Refinery in connection with flaring incidents that released large plumes of smoke Friday and Monday.

The violations at the refinery at 3400 E. Second St. include three for excessive visible emissions and one for a public nuisance violation related to the flaring on Friday, then one more of each offense for additional flaring Monday, according to the air district.

Fines for the violations are contingent on further evaluation to determine whether maintenance was performed or if there was negligence, air district spokesman Tom Flannigan said.

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A power outage around 6:45 a.m. Friday caused processing units to shut down and the release of process gasses to the emergency flares. There were additional emissions from the fluid coker and fluid catalytic cracking unit stacks, air district officials said in an incident report.

Electric power to the refinery was restored around 10:30 a.m. and refinery personnel started stabilizing the process units, according to the report.

Benicia police issued a shelter-in-place order for some residents and two Benicia elementary schools, and an evacuation order in an industrial park downwind and close to the refinery.

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