press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron And EPA Agree To Settle Richmond Refinery Dispute

RICHMOND, Calif., Oct. 15, 1998 -- Chevrons Richmond Refinery announced today that it has agreed to settle a dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by paying a $540,000 civil penalty rather than undertaking a potentially more costly litigation defense.

These events occurred between 1990 and 1995, and no harm was caused to the environment from any of them, said General Manager Bill Steelman. We are dedicated to operating the refinery with excellence and to preventing adverse impacts on the environment. We regret that any exceedences may have occurred.

The agreement, filed in Federal Court in San Francisco, focused primarily on the refinerys water discharge permit:

  • Of almost 2400 wastewater tests from May 1990 through mid-1995, the refinery reported 16 cases in which its discharge limits were exceeded. The refinery believes these had no adverse impact on San Pablo Bay.
  • The EPA says the refinery discharged stormwater containing some refining process water once in late 1994. The refinery believed this was allowed by its permit.
  • The EPA says wastewater was discharged on occasion without carbon filtration and calls this a bypass of the refinerys treatment system. The refinery believed carbon filtration was an auxiliary process to be used when additional treatment was deemed necessary. As part of the settlement, however, Chevron installed additional carbon filters in 1995 and began routing wastewater through carbon filters on an on-going basis.

    In addition, the settlement covered the following:

    • Delayed reporting to federal authorities of three releases to air of potentially hazardous materials between July 1991 and February 1992. The events did not cause harm to the community. All were reported as soon as it was clear that reporting limits were exceeded.
    • Minor inaccuracies in the annual toxic release inventory reports for 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Richmond Refinery employees have reviewed and improved procedures to ensure that similar events do not recur and are committed to meeting all environmental requirements, Steelman said.

Updated: October 1998