Torrance refinery gets violation notice from air quality agency due to 'repeated' flare-ups

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Torrance refinery was in trouble by air quality regulators on Friday after several recent flare-ups.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a violation notice to operators of the Torrance Refinery Co in response to "repeated and excessive flaring" from the former Exxon Mobile refinery.

"The Torrance Refining Co. has been responsible for an unacceptably high number of flaring events resulting from shutdowns at its Torrance facility," said Wayne Nastri, acting executive officer of the SCAQMD. "We share the community's concern about these flaring events."

SCAQMD added that the concern comes from what the flare-ups can do to those living in surrounding neighborhoods.

The notice comes just three days after a flare-off that occurred during a massive power outage in the South Bay area. The incident led to residents receiving a shelter-in-place order.

Torrance Refining Co. said the flare-up, which is a safety measure that burns off gas during a malfunction, was caused by a 26-minute power outage on Southern California Edison's system.

Refinery officials said they've been compliant with air regulation rules. They added that the flare-up was necessary and followed permit conditions.

The SCAQMD, however, said the violation notice was issued because the refinery has had too many flare-up incidents in recent months, including one on Sept. 19 and July 11.

As a result, SCAQMD officials said they were also going to impose higher mitigation fees and fee caps for emissions during flaring events, and they're going to push for a stronger backup power supply to avoid power interruptions.
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