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Valero to pay $249,000 in air quality violations

The Valero Refinery in Benicia, California, just across the bridge from Martinez. (WIKIMEDIA)
The Valero Refinery in Benicia, California, just across the bridge from Martinez. (WIKIMEDIA)

SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has announced that Valero Refining Co. has agreed to pay $249,000 to settle violations at its refinery in Benicia.

The settlement covers 29 notices of violation issued to the company for non-compliance with air quality regulations at its operations that occurred largely in 2013. The violations that led to this settlement have been corrected.

“Bay Area refineries are subject to exceptionally stringent national, state and local air quality regulations which are strictly enforced by the Air District,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Financial penalties are a useful tool to prevent future violations and to protect public health and the communities where these facilities are located.”

Violations included:

• Four significant violations involved errors in an inspection database that resulted in missed leak inspections for valves omitted from the database, and another involved opening a tank to the atmosphere without first conducting required degassing;

• Nine were brief violations of emission limits, with eight detected by monitors that continuously measure emissions from refinery equipment, and one discovered by a source test conducted by the facility;

• Six were minor hydrocarbon leaks from storage tanks; and nine involved late reports or other administrative violations.

All settlement funds will be used to fund Air District activities such as the inspection and enforcement activities that led to this settlement.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (www.baaqmd.gov) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.

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