Power failure causes groundflares, shutdown of hydrocracker complex at California Refinery

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From the Sacramento Bee

RODEO, Calif. (AP) -- For the second time in less than a month, the Tosco oil refinery has been cited for emissions smoky enough to be seen by neighbors. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued the citation Tuesday after the facility burned off excess fuel through ground flares. A power failure led to the burn-off, according to Tosco spokesman Jeff Callender. Callender said the power failure triggered an automatic shutdown of the plant's hydrocracker complex. The complex breaks down heavy fuel oil into lighter fuels. Callender said one ground or pit flare and one elevated flare started burning after the units shut down. He said the ground flare only burned for 20 to 30 seconds. The flares are located near safety valves and burn excess gases and other products released from the valve. The refinery was cited for a burn-off on December 16.

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