Chevron has agreed to pay $278,000 to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for more than two-dozen air quality violations at its Richmond refinery between 2011 and 2013, air district officials announced Thursday.
The settlement arose from 27 air quality violations recorded at the refinery unrelated to the catastrophic explosion and fire sparked by a
leak from an oil refining pipe at the refinery in August 2012, according to district officials.
The violations included vapor leaks, failure to get the proper permits for several petroleum product storage thanks, excess hydrogen sulfide amounts in gas and uncovered drains on the refinery's shipping wharf, district spokesman Aaron Richardson said.
Richardson said none of the violations caused significant emissions or significant health impacts in the surrounding community.
None of the violations surpassed the air district's pollutant leak threshold of 100 parts per million, which is "less than you're probably
exposed to when you're gassing up your car," the spokesman said.
All 27 of the breaches at the refinery have since been corrected, air district officials said.
"The air district continues to vigorously inspect the Chevron facility," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a prepared
"We will continue to hold Chevron accountable when they fail to adhere to their permit requirements or comply with air quality regulations," he said.
In its own statement, Chevron said it has "conducted thorough investigations of each of these incidents" and "preventative measures to avoid similar situations from occurring in the future."
District officials said funds from the settlement would cover future enforcement and inspection activities such as those that led to the agreement.
In 2013, the oil company was ordered to pay $2 million in fines and restitution stemming from criminal charges over the August 2012 fire, which endangered 19 workers at the refinery and sent about 15,000 community members to hospitals with related illnesses. About $185,000 of that amount
went to the air district.
Chevron was also ordered to pay $170,000 in 2011 and $190,000 for additional air violations at the refinery unrelated to the 2012 blaze, according to Richardson.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is tasked with protecting air quality and enforcing federal air quality standards within the
nine-county Bay Area.