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SEPT. 25 UPDATE: I received the following clarifications from refinery spokesman Brandon Matson on the Community Warning System alerts that were issued over the weekend:

The CWS Alert at 10:22 a.m. on Saturday, September 23, was in fact the continuance of a CWS Alert we’ve been renewing daily with the County for the past several weeks related to a unit start-up. Importantly, the associated flaring is primarily the clean combustion of treated process gas that is included in our permit, and is quite different than other flaring that can be noisy or more visible.

The CWS Alert at 12:57 a.m. on Sunday, September 24, was unintentional and immediately corrected with the County – there was no fire at the refinery. We were attempting to renew the CWS Alert mentioned above and were trying out the CWS mobile application in case we want to start utilizing it more to improve our CWS notification timeliness, but we mistakenly checked the “fire” option instead of “flare.”  

The flaring that occurred at MRC on Friday night, September 22, was much different than the flaring mentioned above and was due to an equipment issue. We issued a different CWS Alert to the County for that one because the flaring could be heard offsite and was visible to the community – mainly to the 680 Freeway and Marina Vista Avenue. The flaring ended later that night.

Note from Craig: The alerts I referenced in Sunday’s post were all found on the Contra Costa Health Services Hazardous Materials page at https://cchealth.org/hazmat/ The alerts were bannered across the top of the page with boilerplate language that made no distinguish between continuing flaring for unit start-ups or other regular refinery operations and those that result from an equipment failure. The inadvertent fire incident alert that was posted at 12:57 a.m. was still on the webpage as of 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

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