Bay Area refinery shuts down operations after oil sheen is spotted in San Pablo Bay
A Phillips 66 refinery has temporarily shut down operations at a dock in Rodeo as authorities investigate a pair of oil sheens that appeared recently in northern San Pablo Bay, officials said Thursday.
The oil sheens have not been seen in the waters since Wednesday afternoon. Officials have yet to determine the source of the oil, according to a statement from a Joint Unified Command team created for the incident.
The team includes the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Contra Costa County’s Hazardous Materials Department and Phillips 66, as well as workers from the National Response Center and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Operations at the Phillips 66 refinery’s marine terminal in Rodeo have been shut down since Wednesday.
Phillips 66 said it planned to inspect a ship docked at the refinery and test its dock transfer pipelines on Thursday.
Authorities are looking at refineries, vessels and nearby facilities to determine the source of the sheens.
There have been no reports of oiled wildlife.
The Coast Guard spotted the sheen, which was a mile long and 40 yards wide, on Tuesday. The ferry Intintoli first reported a strong smell of oil at about 8 p.m. The next day, the Coast Guard found a sheen near the refinery’s marine dock.
Authorities placed 1,000 feet of boom on the water around the refinery dock and launched cleanup operations.
Coast Guard officials said it was unclear if the sheens were related to the strong odor that prompted the Vallejo Fire Department on Tuesday to advise its residents to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off any air conditioning. The fire department said natural gas levels in the air were normal.
But residents reported difficulty breathing because of the strong odor and many sought medical assistance at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, KPIX-TV reported.
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5 p.m.: This article was updated with officials confirming there were two sheens.
This article was originally published at 2:40 p.m
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