press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Clarifies 1996 Richmond Refinery Toxic Release Data

SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, 1998 -- Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released data indicating that Chevron Richmond Refinery was the No. 1 producer of generated waste nationwide, but Chevron said today the ranking was based on flawed information provided by Chevron. According to the 1996 Toxic Release Inventory, the refinery produced and treated onsite 943 million pounds of waste, but a more accurate figure is less than a half-million pounds according to Chevron.

"The larger figure was based on an incorrect assumption," said Marty Gilles, environmental manager at the refinery. "In addition," she said, "it is very important to note that this waste is not released to the environment but is treated onsite at the refinery and rendered harmless.

"The amount of waste generated and treated onsite in 1996 was in a report submitted by the Richmond Refinery to the EPA. But we calculated that number using an assumption that was based on the best-known information at that time. Since then," said Gilles, "the Richmond Refinery has collected samples on the Richmond Refinery site, and these samples tell us that the previously reported assumption led to a calculation that was high by a factor of over one thousand. If data from our sample had been used in our 1996 report, the revised number would be several hundred thousands pounds instead of 943 million pounds," said Gilles.

"Of course, Chevron is not pleased that the information we reported was so much higher than the number we now believe to be accurate. While the inaccurate calculation resulted in Chevrons Richmond Refinery being listed as the number one waste generator in the nation, we are pleased that in fact we are not," said Bill Steelman, Richmond Refinery manager. "We want people to know that Chevron is committed to protecting people and the environment, and that we work very hard at reducing waste materials and at reducing releases to the environment."

The onsite treatment waste in question is processed in the refinery's wastewater treatment system. This system renders the waste harmless by biodegrading the waste (hydrocarbons from oil processed in the refinery) into carbon dioxide and water.

In addition to the onsite treatment report, Chevrons 1996 Toxics Release Information data for Richmond Refinery also reports a total of 1.5 million pounds of releases to the environment.

Updated: June 1998