Case Study Oil Refineries in Contra Costa County.ppt

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					    Case Study: Oil Refineries in
       Contra Costa County
• Carla Garcia
• Race, Poverty, and the Urban
• Professor Raquel R. Pinderhughes
• Urban Studies Program, San Francisco
  State University, Spring 2004
• Public has permission to use the material
  herein, but only if author, course, and
  university are credited.
   Case Study: Oil Refineries in
      Contra Costa County
   This presentation focuses on the emissions of
pollutants from oil refineries, with Contra Costa County
as a case study, and how the noxious wastes affects the
high level of children’s asthma.
   Furthermore the presentation is designed to describe
how toxins from oil refineries effects the public health of
the surrounding community.
    The presentation will analyze and describe the
purpose, function, problems, and locations of oil
refineries in Contra Costa County.
   Moreover it pays particular attention to the social,
environmental, and public health impacts of the process
associated with the emissions of toxins from oil
      General Description of Oil
• Purpose:
  – Oil refineries are complex process plants which turn
    crude oil into a range of products, including
                Crude Oil
“Crude Oil” is
unprocessed oil.

It is derived from
decaying animal and
plants which lived
millions of years ago.
    Crude Oil & Hydrocarbons
Crude oil contains hydrocarbons and form different
  classes including:
  - Paraffins
  - Aromatics
  - Napthenes or Cycloalkanes
  - Alkenes Dienes and Alkynes
 Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps
1) distillation: separates the complex mixture of
    hydrocarbons in crude oil into components.
 Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps

2) conversion: splits or re-forms the
    backbone of carbon atoms in a
    hydrocarbon molecule in order to make
    new components of higher value
  Refineries Perform 3 Basic Steps

3) Treating: substitutes hydrogen atoms for
    sulphur atoms in the hydrocarbons, thereby
    reducing the pollution caused when the ultimate
    products are burned
      - followed by blending together of the resulting
      components to make finished products.
  Function of Oil Refineries
1) use physical, thermal, and chemical
    separation techniques to separate crude oil
    into several components, including fuel
2) non-fuel products such as solvents and
3) chemical industry feed stocks such as
    benzene and propane
        Problems of Oil Refineries

•   Toxic Pollutants of Oil Refineries and its effect on Air
    –   Oil refineries are one of the largest sources of air pollution in
        the Unites States
    –   Refineries are the fourth largest industrial source of toxic
        emissions and the single largest industrial source of benzene
        emissions, a known human carcinogen.
    Problems of Oil Refineries
2)Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

   a) Refineries are the single largest stationary source of
   volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the primary
   precursor of urban smog.

    b) refineries release approximately 492 million pounds
    of VOCs each year.

   c) oil refineries release more than twice as many VOCs
   as the next highest sector, organic chemical plants.
Problems of Oil Refineries
    Problems of Oil Refineries

Oil refineries are responsible in allowing hazardous toxins, otherwise
   know as fugitive emissions to be emitted into the local and global
         a) oil refineries vastly underreport leaks from valves to
            federal and state regulators

        b) these unreported fugitive emissions from oil refineries add
           millions of pounds of harmful pollutants to the atmosphere
           each year, including over 80 million pounds of volatile
           organic compounds (VOCs) and over 15 million pounds of
           toxic pollutants (Waxman, 1999).
  Problems of Oil Refineries
Furthermore if these industries complied with Clean Air
 Act, much of the pollution would be eliminated.
   c) Fugitive emissions come from a number of
      sources, including leaking valves, pumps, seals,
      connectors, pressure relief devices, and storage
   d) The majority of toxic pollutants from oil refineries
      are released a fugitive emissions. According to
      TRI data, rep oil refineries reported releasing 31
      million pounds of toxic fugitive emissions in 1997,
      more than half of the 58.7 million pounds of toxic
      air pollutants released
    Locations of Oil Refineries

United States oil refineries are located in:
 - Texas:         27 refineries
 - California:     24 refineries
 - Louisiana:     20 refineries
 - Pennsylvania: 6 refineries
 - New Jersey: 6 refineries
 - Illinois:       6 refineries
                                       (Waxman, 1999).
Public Health Issues
          • Air pollutants are considered
            “toxic” when they have the
            potential to cause serious
            adverse health effects, such as
            cancer, neurotoxicity, or
            reproductive toxicity.
          • Examples of these toxic air
            pollutants include benzene, a
            known human carcinogen, and
            xylenes, which depress the
            central nervous system,
            damage the kidneys, and
            irritate the respiratory system.
            (Waxman, 2000)
      Public Health Issues
Refineries are the single largest stationary
source of VOCs, the primary precursor
of urban smog.

Ground level ozone, a toxic gas that is the
primary ingredient of urban smog, is
formed when emissions of VOCs react
with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in
the presence of sunlight
       Public Health Issues

High levels of smog have been linked to serious
health problems, including irritation of the
respiratory system. Smog also aggravates
preexisting respiratory diseases such as asthma.
       Public Health Issues
Children, the elderly,
and people with
respiratory conditions,
including asthma are
especially susceptible
to ozone pollution.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of
the airways.
Asthma is a growing epidemic with the
rate of Americans suffering from asthma
being doubled in the last fifteen years,

               (Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
• 9 million children are affected by asthma.
  (Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency, 2002)

- Asthma sufferers feel
    their lungs constrict
       and experience,
   each new breath as
     if drawn through a
        narrow straw.

 - Asthma is the most
     prevalent chronic
      disease among
   children in California
 According to a California study,
researchers show that children who
breathe heavily polluted air are more
likely to develop asthma.
 •   The study reports, “the strongest evidence yet
     that smog can not only aggravate existing
     childhood asthma, which has reached epidemic
     proportions among American youth, but may
     actually be one cause of the life-threatening
                         (Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency, 2002).

Exacerbations can be triggered by exposures
and conditions such as … outdoor air
pollutants.” (Department of Health and Human
Services, 2002).
Serious Health Impacts of Asthma

Asthma is a potentially fatal, chronic
disease responsible for over 1.8 million
emergency room visits per year, over 460
thousand hospitalizations per year and
over five thousand deaths per year

              (Department of Health and Human Services, 2002).
Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma
                   Besides health impacts
                   on children there are
                   many social impacts that
                   affect asthmatic children.
                     1) School Absenteeism
                        a) Asthma accounts
                         for 14 million lost
                         school days

                             (American Lung Association)
Social Impacts of Pediatric Asthma

Millions of lost hours at work for parents who must nurse
 sick kids.

The estimated annual cost of treating asthma in those
 under 18 years of age is $3.2 billion. (American Lung Association)
   Social Impacts of Asthma
Burden of Asthma in
Minority Populations
and Those Living in
    Social Impacts of Asthma
• Although asthma affects Americans of all
  ages, races and ethnic groups, recent data
  indicate that children, low-income and
  minority populations have been most
  severely affected

               (Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).
   Social Impacts of Asthma
The reasons for the disparities are due to
interaction of factors including: lack of
access to quality medical care, high levels
of exposure to environmental allergens
and irritants, language barriers, and lack of
financial resources and social support to
manage the disease effectively on a long-
term basis
    Environmental Injustices
Environmental racism and environmental
inequity are, “…evidence that
environmental hazards are not distributed
equally among various groups of people, either
in the United States or throughout the world.
Instead, communities of color and to lesser
extent, poor people in general are exposed to
hazardous and toxic wastes, dangerous working
conditions, polluted air and water, and other
environmental insults to a greater degree than
are non-colored communities and people of
higher incomes.”                     (Newton, 1996).
                      Environmental Injustices

                                         (facilities per square
   Facilities Emitting Criteria Air
     Pollutants                                                        Ratio
People of Color



                                              (facilities per square
      Facilities Emitting Criteria Air
        Pollutants                                                     Ratio
   Low Income Families

   High Income Families
      A Case Study of Contra Costa
       County and Richmond, CA
•Ethnic Composition of Richmond, California
                                            Total Population in
                                                                    Percentage of Total
                      Ethnic Group          Richmond Zip Code
              White                       6435                    26.9%
              African American            11672                   48.8%
              Native American,
                                          182                     0.8%
              Eskimo, or Aleut
              Asian or Pacific Islander   1956                    8.2%
              Other                       3659                    15.3%
  A Case Study of Contra Costa
   County and Richmond, CA
Since 1989, there have been 35 major industrial
accidents in Contra Costa County, California, making it
one of the most dangerous places to live in the nation.
(University of Michigan).

Between 1989 and 1995, there were over 1900 different
incidents reported in the county, making it the eleventh
worst area in the entire United States with regards to
toxic accidents (University of Michigan).

Chevron had 304 accidents between 1989 and 1995 --
major fires, spills, leaks, explosions, toxic gas releases,
flaring, and air contamination (University of Michigan).
History of Serious Accidents at
 Chemical/Refinery Plants in
     Contra Costa County
Company/              Date Accident   Accident Description     Onsite Impact             Offsite Impact
Location              Occurred

Rhône Poulenc (now    5/92            Sulfuric acid &          Fire damaged              Smoke, including
Rhodia) Martinez,                     hydrocarbon spill &      equipment. Dead &         sulfuric acid, impacted
CA                                    fire. 1 employee         injure men were           the community.
                                      killed & another         Rhône Poulenc             Shelter-in-place was
                                      seriously injured.       employees.                called.
General Chemical      7/26/93         Overheating of a tank    The loss of a tank car    Over 22,000 people
Richmond, CA                          car of 35% oleum.        of 35% oleum and the      sought medical
                                      Released between 4 &     shutting down of          assistance with 15 – 22
                                      8 tons of sulfur         their processing.         people staying in the
                                      trioxide over 3 hour                               hospital overnight.
                                      & 45 min.                                          People were asked to
                                      period.Formed sulfur                               shelter-in-place.
                                      acid cloud.
Unocal                9/6/94          A column used to         The Catacarb®             Release impacted the
(now                                  strip CO2 developed a    affected the health of    communities of
                                      leak. Continued to       many of the workers       Crockett,Rodeo,&
ConocoPhillips)                       operate for 16-days.     downwind of the           Tormey. A health clinic
Rodeo, CA                             Catacarb® was            column. The               setup by Unocal treated
                                      atomized and 80-225      hydrocracker              1200+ people over next
                                      tons was released.       processing unit was       yr. People still
                                                               shutdown.                 complain of health
Unocal                6/16/95         Tank fire continued      Response from the         Smoke impacted the
(nowConocoPhillips)                   to burn off & on for     facility along with the   communities of
                                      approximately 1          local fire                Crockett,Rodeo,&
Rodeo, CA                             week.                    departments.              Tormey. Shelter-in-
                                                                                         place. Odors lingered
                                                                                         for a week after the fire.
                                                                                         Unocal put up 100
                                                                                         people in motels until
                                                                                         incident was 100%

 Air Products         2/1/96          Piping failed because    Shutdown of the           Noise of the explosion
Martinez, CA                          of corrosion & release   hydrogen unit.            was heard offsite for
Company/             Date Accident   Accident               Onsite Impact          Offsite Impact
Location             Occurred        Description

Shell Martinez, CA   4/1/96          Fire at their          Fire damage was        People were asked to
                                     cracked gas unit.      extensive onsite.      shelter-in-place.
                                     The fire lasted for    The unit was           smoke fro fire
                                     over 3 hours           shutdown until         impacted the area
                                                            repairs were made

Unocal               5/96            A hot coke drum        Fire damage to         People were asked to
(nowConocoPhillips                   was dumped and a       coker unit.            shelter-in-place. A
) Rodeo, CA                          fire was initiated.                           few people in Vallejo
                                                                                   sought health care

Tosco                4/23/97         An upset in the        Shutdown parts of      People were asked to
(nowConocoPhillips                   distillation unit      the refinery until     shelter-in-place in
)                                    sent hydrocarbons      the problem was        Tormey and Crockett.
Rodeo, CA                            to the sulfur          found.
                                     recovery units.

Tosco (now Tesoro)   2/23/99         Isomax firE.A valve    Shutdown a major       Smoke was visible
Avon, CA                             stem blew out that     part of the refinery   over much of the
                                     caused a release of    - two people           North Bay Area -
                                     hydrocarbons and       slightly injured       Disruption in traffic -
                                     hydrogen sulfide       fighting the fire.     Sirens sounded,
                                     that ignited,                                 people were asked to
                                     resulting in a major                          shelter-in-place.
Tosco (now           12/16/99        Overpressure of the    Unit shutdown.         Black smoke that
ConocoPhillips)                      flare header system                           could be seen in
Rodeo, CA                            where the MP-30                               Emeryville. People in
                                     ground flare was                              Rodeo were asked to
                                     used.                                         shelter-in-place.
Tosco                1/15/00         Flaring from the       Unit shutdown.         Black smoke visible
(nowConocoPhillips                   MP-30 ground flare                            offsite.
Company/               Date Accident   Accident Description       Onsite Impact           Offsite Impact
Location               Occurred
Tosco                  2/7/00          Catacarb leak and          Unit shutdown loss of
(now ConocoPhillips)                   hydrogen fire at the       the supply of           Smoke visible offsite.
Rodeo, CA                              unicracking unit.          Catacarb.
                                       Localized corrosion
                                       caused a pipe to fail
                                       hydrogen was
                                       released and ignited.
Tosco (now Tesoro)     3/22/00         A fire occurred at         Two contractors were    None.
Avon, CA                               alkylation unit. The       injured.
                                       firewater caught on
                                       fire because
                                       hydrocarbons backed
                                       into fire waterline.
Tosco                  6/6/0           A fire at the coker        The #5 Boiler was       Smoke from the fire
(now Tesoro)                           unit. Naphtha was          shutdown. Two           was visible offsite. With
Avon, CA                               released from the          contractors had         the #5 boiler offline,
                                       flushing oil tank and      minor injuries.         particulates were
                                       caught on fire.                                    released into the air
                                                                                          from the stack.
General Chemical       5/1/01          Truck hit a power          The plant shutdown      Sulfur dioxide went offsite
Richmond, CA                           line and GCC lost          and had problems        and a Level 3 was called.
                                       power. A release of        when starting up.       Sirens and CAN were
                                       sulfur dioxide             Another release         activated. People were
                                                                                          asked to shelter-in-place
                                       occurred when the          occurred.
                                                                                          downwind of the plant.
                                       chamber went
Equilon                7/18/01         Upset occurred in the      Unit upset resulting    Smoke and
(Now Shell)                            straight run               in unit shutdown.       hydrocarbons released.
Martinez, CA                           hydrotreater unit. Fires   One MRC emergency       Level 3 was called with
                                       occurred                   responder slightly      sirens activated
                                       Hydrocarbons, H2S,         injured when a fire
                                       and smoke released         truck fitting struck
                                       offsite                    his leg.
Company/           Date Accident   Accident               Onsite Impact         Offsite Impact
Location           Occurred        Description

Equilon            10/14/01        Cat cracker release    Cat cracker was       Soot dusted the
(Now Shell)                        of soot, catalyst,     starting up and had   Martinez area Odors
Martinez, CA                       and hydrocarbons       to discontinue the    were smelled over a
                                   during catalytic       startup.              mile north of the
                                   cracking unit upset.                         refinery. Level 3 was
                                   5,000 lbs+                                   called with sirens
                                   hydrocarbons                                 being sounded.
Equilon            10/17/01        Cat cracker release    Cat cracker unit      Mostly hydrocarbons
(Now Shell)                        of soot, catalyst,     shutdown to do a      were released. A Level
Martinez, CA                       and hydrocarbons       full investigation.   3 was called with
                                   during another         Unit was down for 2   sirens and CAN being
                                   catalytic cracking     months.               activated. Shelter-in-
                                   unit upset 50,000                            place. I680 was
                                   lbs+ hydrocarbons                            shutdown for most of
                                   emitted.                                     the duration of the
General Chemical   11/29/01        The 99.5% sulfuric     The plant was acid    Sulfur trioxide and
Richmond, CA                       acid concentration     starting up. Shut     sulfur dioxide went
                                   was super              down the plant.       offsite and a Level 3
                                   saturated, which                             was called. Sirens
                                   caused a release of                          were activated.
                                   sulfur trioxide.                             Shelter-in-place.
Chevron            1/31/02         Release of sulfur      Shutdown Isomax       A few calls were
Richmond, CA                       dioxide from the #3    and the #3 SRU.       reported to the
                                   SRU plant. A The                             facility expressing
                                   momentary release                            concern or inquiring
                                   occurred while                               as to the activity
                                   restarting the                               taking place. People
                                   plant.(Level 3                               in Richmond were
                                   initiated by CCHS.)                          asked to shelter-in-
Company/               Date Accident   Accident                Onsite Impact        Offsite Impact
Location               Occurred        Description

Loctite Aerospace—     2/21/02         Considerable smoke      Drum moved from      Smoke released. Level
Bay Point Pittsburg,                   was released from a     manufacturing area   3 was called with
CA                                     55-gallon drum          to outside.          sirens activated.
                                       containing                                   People living
                                       intermediate                                 downwind were asked
                                       adhesive product                             to shelter-in-place.
                                       smoke was caused
                                       by an exothermic
                                       runaway reaction

Phillips               7/10/02         The steam boilers       The refinery loss    Smoke, partial burned
(now                                   were tripped off,       steam and had an     hydrocarbons, and
ConocoPhillips)                        which led to a loss     emergency            sulfur compounds
Rodeo, CA                              of steam for the        shutdown.            impacted the
                                       refinery. The                                communities
                                       refinery was                                 downwind. Tormey
                                       shutdown                                     and Crockett were
                                       immediately with                             asked to shelter-in-
                                       much of the offgas                           place. Sirens and the
                                       going to the flares.                         CAN were activated.
                                       The flares were
                                       overwhelmed and
                                       created a lot of
                                       smoke and
                                       decreased the
                                       overall efficiency of
                                       the flares.
• Emissions from oil refineries contribute to
  noxious pollution, which has detrimental
  and adverse health effects on the
  surrounding community, inflicting
  environmental racism and environmental
  inequity upon the people of Contra Costa
• City of Richmond. (2002, May). Basic Fact Sheet. Retrieved on
  March 16, 2004
•      From

• Contra Costa Health Services (2002-2004). Hazardous Material
  Program. Retrieved on
• April 16, 2004 from:

• Ecology Center (2003, February) The True Cost of Petroleum:
 Community News.
•      Retrieved March 17, 2004, from
•      Http://
• Department of Health and Human Services. )May 2000) Action
  Against Asthma:
• A Strategic Plan for the Department of Health and Human Services.
• Retrieved March 16, 2004 from:
• Newton, Davis (1996). Environmental Justice. Santa Barbara: ABC-
• Pearce, N., Beasley, R., Burgess, C. & Crane, J. (1998). Asthma
• Principles and Methods. New York: Oxford University Press
• Pudget Sound Clean Air Agency. (2002, January), Study Air
  Pollution May Cause
•        Childhood Asthma. Retrieved on March 17, 2004 from:
•   Scorecard Organization. (2003) Air Quality Criteria. Retrieved on April 17,
•   University of Michigan, (n.d.) Environmental Justice Case Study West
•   Costa County Toxics Coalition and the Chevron Refinery. Retrieved
•   March 17, 2004 from:
•   Waxman, Rep. H.A. (1999 November). Minority Staff Special Investigations
•    Committee on Government Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.
•   Retrieved on March 16, 2004 from:
•   _oil_refine_rep.pdf+oil+refineries+fail+to+report

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