TO: Honorable Mayor Irma L. Anderson
And Members of the Richmond City Council
FROM: Angela Jones, Public Information Officer
THRU: Isiah Turner, City Manager
DATE: January 31, 2002
SUBJECT: Sulfur Dioxide Release at Chevron Refinery
This is a report of the details as we know them to date regarding the
release of sulfur dioxide at the Chevron Refinery today.
According to Rick Zalesky, Plant Manager:
- At approximately 12:45 p.m. the
refinery lost feed to the Sulfur Recovery Unit (SRU) plant.
- Loss of the SRU plant resulted in a
release or brief plume of sulfur dioxide (SO2).
- At 1:06 p.m., Chevron personnel
called the County to advise them of a Level 1 Alert, meaning the
incident was confined to the plant.
- At 1:26 p.m., Chevron personnel
called the County to elevate the alert to a Level 3 because the odor
of sulfur dioxide had the potential to be detected off site and may be
detected in the nearby community. Chevron officials activated the
Community Warning System, initially setting off all 22 sirens in the
City of Richmond, including two in San Pablo, signaling residents to
shelter-in-place. Chevron officials reported the actual affected area
was Point Richmond, or the boundary areas West of 23 Street and South
of Hensley Street to the San Francisco Bay. Activation of warning
sirens was then reduced to the affected areas, identified as Zones 1
- At 1:35 p.m. Chevron officials
reported the plume was no longer visible.
- At 1:36 p.m. Chevronís Plant Manager
called the City Public Information Officer to report the incident. The
City Manager and Office of Emergency Services Manager had already been
notified by Rick Zalesky at 1:25 p.m.
- At 1:42 p.m., the Cityís Public
Information Officer, notified KCRT and all city personnel via the
email of the purpose for the sirens.
- At 1:54 p.m., KCRT activated a
message on screen with information on the incident.
- At 1:56 p.m., a message began
broadcasting on KCOR 790 a.m., and the KCRT website.
- At 2:15 p.m., the City Manager
briefed Mayor Anderson on the actions performed by the City, Chevron
and the County up to that point.
- At 3:48 p.m., County officials gave
the All Clear notice. Chevronís General Manager called the City
Manager to report the All Clear status.
- At 4:01 p.m., KCRT updated the on
screen message with the All Clear.
According to Richmond Deputy Fire
Inspector Ron Wiley who was on scene, Chevron is required to generate an
incident report and forward it to the County within 72 hours. Because
this incident was a Level 3 Alert, a Root Cause Analysis is also
required to be completed and submitted to the County within 30 days.
The City Manager talked with Dr. Henry Clark, Executive Director of the
West County Toxics Coalition, about the incident at 2:00 p.m. to get his
opinion on how the City, Chevron, and the County were responding to the
release. Dr. Clark stated he felt the City was being proactive. He said
he knows the Countyís role and he expects that the Root Cause Analysis
should bring about the appropriate correction action on the part of
Chevron. Dr. Clark said he expects the City to hold the County
accountable for implementation of any corrective action, which I assured
him would occur.
There have been no reports of injury to residents because of this
incident. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact