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Oil spill at Chevron refinery dumps ‘up to 600 gallons’ of fuel into San Francisco Bay

Oil spill at Chevron refinery dumps ‘up to 600 gallons’ of fuel into San Francisco Bay, sparking public health advisory

  • Chevron said it became aware of the spill after a ‘sheen’ appeared on the water near its Richmond Refinery at about 3pm Tuesday
  • The cause of the apparent pipeline leak remains unclear 
  • Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia estimated that ‘up to 600 gallons’ of petroleum product escaped, at a rate of five gallons per minute
  • A health advisory was issued for Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo 

An oil spill at a Chevron refinery in Northern California dumped hundreds of gallons of fuel into the San Francisco Bay on Tuesday, prompting a public health advisory.  

Chevron said it became aware of the spill after a ‘sheen’ was observed on the water near its Richmond Refinery at about 3pm. 

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said a pipeline began to leak at about 2.40pm and continued until 4.30pm. He estimated that ‘up to 600 gallons’ of petroleum product escaped, at a rate of five gallons per minute. 

The cause of the leak remains unclear.  A clean-up effort was launched shortly after the leak was contained.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office issued a public health advisory for parts of Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo, warning that the smell of the leak could cause eye, skin, nose or throat irritation in people with respiratory sensitivities. 

An oil spill at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, California dumped hundreds of gallons of fuel into the San Francisco Bay on Tuesday, prompting a public health advisory

Chevron said it became aware of the spill after a 'sheen' was observed on the water near its Richmond Refinery at about 3pm. The spill is seen above in aerial footage from ABC7

Chevron said it became aware of the spill after a ‘sheen’ was observed on the water near its Richmond Refinery at about 3pm. The spill is seen above in aerial footage from ABC7

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office issued a public health advisory for parts of Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo (shown in blue above). It warned that the smell of the leak could cause eye, skin, nose or throat irritation in people with respiratory sensitivities

The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office issued a public health advisory for parts of Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo (shown in blue above). It warned that the smell of the leak could cause eye, skin, nose or throat irritation in people with respiratory sensitivities

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the leak, including the US Coast Guard, Department of Fish & Game, Richmond Fire Department and a hazmat team, along with Chevron Operations. 

Region 9 of the National Response Center and Environmental Protection Agency was notified about the incident, the fire department said.  

Gioia said a containment boom floating barrier was placed around the spill but didn’t stop some product from washing up on shore.  

He also expressed concern over the lasting impacts the spill could have on local wildlife, telling ABC7: ‘This is unacceptable.’ 

The East Bay Regional Parks District closed some parks and beaches in the area to avoid swimmers coming in direct contact with the product.  

A containment boom floating barrier was placed around the spill to block it from spreading

A containment boom floating barrier was placed around the spill to block it from spreading

Some product is seen washed up on a beach near the Richmond Refinery

Some product is seen washed up on a beach near the Richmond Refinery

Chevron released a statement acknowledging the leak but did not mention anything about what may have caused it. 

‘At approximately 3pm today, the Richmond Refinery observed a sheen on the water near the Richmond Refinery wharf,’ the statement read. 

‘Chevron immediately initiated its response protocol, began working to isolate and contain the release, and notified all applicable agencies. 

‘Chevron is fully cooperating with authorities, including the U.S. Coast Guard and OSPR. 

‘We have issued a community notice and ask the public to remain clear of the area so crews can quickly contain and clean up the released volumes.’ 

The Richmond Refinery processes around 240,000 barrels of crude oil each day. With 1,200 employees, the refinery is the largest employer in Richmond.  

The Richmond Refinery (pictured) processes around 240,000 barrels of crude oil each day

The Richmond Refinery (pictured) processes around 240,000 barrels of crude oil each day

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