An expected steam release at the Tesoro Refinery on Solano Way in Avon ended with the refinery issuing a Level 2 advisory warning of possible “off-site consequences” for people with pre-existing medical conditions Tuesday.
Several NEWS24/680 readers noted that thick, black smoke and some flames were visible at the refinery around 12:18 p.m., triggering anxious calls and further questions from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
A Community Warning System was issued for residents living in Martinez, Pacheco, North Concord and Clyde. Refinery officials said a venting situation was contained and the flaring stopped but they advised residents to avoid the area or remain indoors if they have respiratory issues.
The following release was issued:
At approximately 11:47 pst this morning, Tesoro Martinez experienced a loss of our primary steam generation unit that caused upsets in several process units. These upsets resulted in flaring with visible smoke. A CWS Level 2 was activated per procedure, due to the smoke drifting offsite.
There were no injuries as a result of this event. We do not expect any adverse health effects. We are working closely with Contra Costa County health personnel and other regulatory agencies.
At this time, the steam generation unit is back on-line, and the refinery is currently in stable condition at reduced rates. The refinery is no longer flaring.
Our main priority is to safely return the refinery to normal operations and to minimize the impact to the community and the environment.
As of 1400 (2 p.m.), the event has been downgraded to a CWS Level 0. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.