Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Air District has fined Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company $1,469,579 for air quality violations at its Martinez refinery.

Spare the Air Status

The resolution of the case involved an extensive investigation into periodic, brief exceedances of the Air District’s hydrogen sulfide emissions standards at one of Tesoro's ground level monitoring stations located on Waterfront Road along the border between the refinery and the Point Edith Wildlife Area, approximately two miles from any residential zone. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas known for its pungent “rotten egg” odor at low concentrations.

The Air District’s investigation determined the causes of the emissions issues, which included recovered oil tank leaks, wastewater treatment system leaks, and wastewater pond management deficiencies. The penalty announced today also covers certain other related emissions violations. In some cases, drought-induced emissions of H2S from the Point Edith Wildlife Area may have contributed to the emissions exceedances.

In addition to the payment of civil penalties, the Air District has required Tesoro to correct operational issues with the recovered oil tanks and shut down use their use entirely by the end of 2024; to implement structural and operational improvements to the wastewater treatment system; to implement ongoing operational and management plans to prevent future emissions from the wastewater management system ponds; to install and operate a new ground level monitoring system at the border of the refinery near the community of Clyde, to better monitor emissions that might affect the community; and to conduct ongoing investigations to determine the cause of any potential future emissions exceedances at the Waterfront Road monitor. 

The resolution of the case also includes penalties for emissions violations at Tesoro's Pacheco Slough monitoring site, which occurred while Tesoro was conducting required soil remediation work. 

All violations included in this case have been corrected.

The Air District issues Notices of Violation when facilities violate a specific air quality regulation or rule. Violators are generally required to respond to the notice within 10 days and submit a description of the actions they will take to correct the problem. These actions can include shutting down certain operations immediately or changing operations or equipment to come into compliance.

All penalty funds will be used to fund Air District activities such as inspection and enforcement efforts.

View press releaseLanguage Icon Globe.

Last Updated: 12/12/2022