No environmental or health risks posed by noise incident at Richmond Refinery

No environmental or health risks posed by noise incident at Richmond Refinery

We understand that many residents were concerned about a loud noise heard in the community Thursday night. We apologize for the impact this had on you and your families. The noise was a result of a steam pressure release. We want to assure our neighbors that Thursday night’s noise did not pose any environmental or health risk to the community. This was not a planned event.

Steam helps to power equipment and provides efficient heating during the refining process. In very rare instances, steam needs to be released to prevent over-pressuring of a system and this process may cause a loud noise. Our experts will investigate this incident so that we can learn from it and take appropriate action to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future.

Last night, refinery personnel also responded to several community odor concerns. While these odors occurred during a similar timeframe as the refinery’s steam pressure release, we do not believe the refinery was the source of the odor. Air quality and wind data from the independent Richmond Air Monitoring Program (RCAMP) supports this. You can view RCAMP data at

The Richmond Refinery works hard to operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. It is our goal to have zero impact on our neighbors which is why we are constantly investing in new equipment and technologies that reduce the impact of our operations on the surrounding community. We apologize for not meeting that goal last night.

We appreciate our neighbors who reached out to us last night and encourage you to always do so if you have concerns about refinery odors and noise. Our Odor and Noise Complaint Hotline is (510) 242-2127 and is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.