Information by Region - Southern California
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)
- Emissions from Refinery Flares
- Flare Event Information Hotline
- Emergency Response Policy
- Enhancing Monitoring Efforts to Respond to Community Concerns 2013 (PowerPoint)
- Air Quality Sensor Performance Evaluation Center
Refinery Links - Southern California
- Andeavor (Carson)
- Chevron (El Segundo)
- Andeavor (Wilmington)
- PBF Energy (Torrance)
- Phillips 66 (Wilmington)
- Valero (Wilmington)
- AltAir Paramount LLC. (Paramount)
Fire at ExxonMobil Torrance (March 11th, 2015)
ExxonMobil Torrance Air Impacts Assessment (February 18th, 2015)
The unit that reportedly failed is the electrostatic precipitator that separates solid catalyst fines from the flue gas of the fluid catalytic cracking unit in the refining process. The solid material produced from the precipitator is spent catalyst, composed chiefly of inert material such as alumina silicate or zeolite, with a trace amount of carbon and possibly trace metal(s). The carbon and metal (if any) is bonded to the inert substrate. The types of trace metal(s) present would depend on the specific crude feedstock's mineral content (if any) and the formulation of the catalyst in use (only ExxonMobil would know that.)
The "ash" present at Torrance is actually these gritty, largely inert fine particles. They do pose an inhalation risk as all particles do. Inhalation may also pose a risk of acute toxicity if inhalation cannot be avoided.
The other air pollutant of concern would be the petroleum smoke from the intensive flaring activity. This smoke contains a broad spectrum of unhealthful particles and toxic aerosols that of course should not be inhaled if at all possible.
South Coast Air Quality Management District has inspectors and emergency air monitoring personnel onsite in Torrance. They have deployed portable particulate matter monitors, two portable gas chromatographs and samplers for lab analysis of the solid "ash".
U.S. Chemical Safety Board Meeting on the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery Explosion (January 13, 2016)
On January 13th, 2016, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board held a public meeting in Torrance, California in regards to the ExxonMobil Oil Refinery explosion.
SCAQMD Hearing on Torrance Refining Co. (April 2017)
The SCAQMD's Governing Board Refinery Committee will conduct an investigative hearing on air quality impacts from the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery. Speakers from federal, state, and local agencies are expected to address the issue and public comments will be accepted in the afternoon.
The board will examine the air quality impacts from recent events at the refinery.
More information for the hearing can be found on the SCAQMD Webpage.
South Coast AQMD Updates on ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery Incident (February 25th, 2015)
South Coast Air Quality Smoke Advisory (February 18, 2015)
Exxon Mobil Refinery: Torrance - Los Angeles Times Article (February 19th, 2015)