Refinery Air Monitoring
In 2013, the Governor created the Interagency Refinery Task Force (IRTF) with a goal to better coordinate refinery safety and compliance efforts and improve preparedness for future incidents. The IRTF is made up of different state and local agencies including the California Air Resources Board and four air districts (Bay Area AQMD, South Coast AQMD, San Joaquin Valley APCD and San Luis Obispo APCD) that have refineries within their jurisdictions. CARB and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) agreed to assess existing emergency air monitoring capabilities and to identify potential improvements to refinery air monitoring systems in order to support of goals of the task force (Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Assessment Report: Objective 2, 2019).
What is a refinery?
- Petroleum refineries convert crude oil and other liquids into various petroleum products that people use every day, as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration.
- The main focus of most refineries is to produce transportation fuels.
- From a 42-gallon barrel of crude oil, on average, U.S. refineries produce about 20 gallons of motor gasoline, 12 gallons of distillate fuel, which is mostly sold as diesel fuel, and 4 gallons of jet fuel.
- More than a dozen other petroleum products are produced in refineries. Petroleum refineries produce liquids the petrochemical industry uses to make a variety of chemicals and plastics.
- Due to refineries running 24/7, they require a large number of employees.
- A refinery can occupy as much land as several hundred football fields. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2017)
- CCLHO/CAPCOA Air-Borne Emergency Response Procedure (June 2014)
A template for local governments to develop basic response procedures for air contaminant releases.
- California Air Response Planning Alliance (CARPA)
An ad hoc forum of federal, state, local and tribal agencies focused on increasing coordination and agency capabilities for responding to large hazardous air release incidents.
- Description of air contaminants from the California Department of Public Health
- AirNow - Searchable air quality conditions and forecasts provided by U.S. EPA
General Refinery Monitoring Information
- General information on oil refining and refinery throughputs provided by U.S. DOE Energy Information Administration
Real-Time Refinery Fenceline and Community Monitoring Data
Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Assessment Report: Objective 2 (March 2019)
CARB's Monitoring and Laboratory Division and CAPCOA have completed the second volume of the Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Assessment Report. The March 2019 report, Objective 2: Evaluation of Air Monitoring Capabilities, Gaps, and Potential Enhancements, is available online.
- CARB/CAPCOA Refinery Air Monitoring Assessment:
- Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Analysis of Refinery Chemical Emissions and Health Effects
The report provides recommendations aimed to strike a balance between local implementation and state oversight of a program to improve emergency and routine air monitoring at California's major refineries and in surrounding communities. The report recommendations will guide the efforts of a proposed interagency refinery monitoring working group comprised of local air district and CARB staff that will develop guidance tailored for each locality in three areas:
- Air Monitoring
The refinery-focused guidance of this report may serve as a template for similar air monitoring around other types of industrial sources that pose a risk to nearby communities.
Information By Region
The buttons below allow you to access information by region. Information includes: refinery rules, incident reporting, hazardous materials programs, risk management plans, sheltering in-place, fenceline and community air monitoring, network and emergency response plans, refinery websites, etc.
|Bay Area||San Joaquin Valley||Central Coast||Southern California|
CARB Response Plans and Reports
California Refineries Outreach Programs and Emergency Response Plans
A 2003 overview of the California refining industry that provides a general characterization of processes, operations and throughputs for individual refineries, as well as detailed information on each refinery’s community outreach programs, community alert systems and emergency preparedness and response programs.
Refinery Air Monitoring Assessment Plan Released (July 2013)
CARB and CAPCOA released a plan to assess emergency air monitoring capabilities in communities near petroleum refineries throughout the state.
The 15-month project will be conducted collaboratively with local air monitoring agencies, emergency response agencies, and refineries. It will evaluate and make recommendations on the potential need for additional resources including equipment, services, staffing, and training to support local air emergency response programs.
This plan supports the mission of the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety to improve public and worker safety through enhanced oversight of refineries, and to strengthen emergency preparedness in anticipation of any future incident. The Working Group consisted of participants from 13 agencies and departments, as well as the Governor’s office.
The plan, entitled Air Monitoring for Accidental Refinery Releases: Assessment of Capabilities and Potential Improvements Project Plan - July 2013 is now available.
Refinery Safety Report Released (February 2014)
The Governor's Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety released its final report, Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries.
California Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Capabilities Report Released (May 2015)
CARB’s Monitoring and Laboratory Division and CAPCOA have completed the first volume of the Refinery Emergency Air Monitoring Assessment Report. The May 2015 report, “Objective 1: Delineation of Existing Capabilities” is now available online.
The report provides a comprehensive inventory of emergency air monitoring assets and capabilities located in and around California’s fifteen major oil refineries. It serves as the basis for the ongoing assessment and guideline development phases of the project.
To view this report, please select the links below: