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Release Date: 10/15/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

    (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced that Chevron's Richmond, Calif. oil refinery has agreed to install additional water pollution controls and to pay $540,000 to settle allegations that the facility violated federal environmental laws when it intermittently bypassed a wastewater treatment system in the years 1991 to 1995, and failed to make proper notifications regarding toxic releases to the environment.

     "We're please to announce this settlement, which provides for greater pollution control capacity at the refinery, and thus, greater protection for San Francisco Bay," said Alexis Strauss, acting director of U.S. EPA's western regional water division.
     In bypassing its wastewater filtration system, the refinery discharged effluent into San Pablo Bay that exceeded limits set under its discharge permit, in violation of the Clean Water Act. Chevron ceased intentially bypassing the filtration system in June, 1995.  Some of the bypass incidents, however, occurred when rainstorms in 1994 and 1995 caused wastewater flows to exceed the capacity of the filtration system.  To remedy this problem, Chevron has agreed to enlarge the filtration treatment system to a capacity of at least 20 million gallons per day (MGD).

     The consent decree filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California also settles allegations that Chevron on four occasions did not fully and accurately report toxic releases to the environment, as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).   These laws require immediate notification and followup reports to state, local, and federal emergency response agencies when there are significant toxic spills or leaks.  The incidents involved air releases of hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen flouride, and sulphur dioxide; and a spill of sulfuric acid on land.  In these incidents, the appropriate agencies were notified, but some of the information was inaccurate, incomplete, or late.

     Chevron is also subject to the toxic chemical release inventory (TRI) reporting  requirements under Section 313 of EPCRA.  TRI requires certain manufacturing facilities to annually submit reports documenting routine releases of toxic chemicals to EPA and  the State of California.  The Consent Decree settled allegations that the refinery failed to maintain documentation during 1989-1991 to support its release calculations for benzene and toluene and, did not accurately calculate its releases of diethanolamine, methyl ethyl ketone, and  compounds of nickel, zinc chromium and copper.

     The Chevron facility in Richmond is one of Northern California's largest oil refineries.  Its products include gasoline, other fuels, and various chemicals.

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