Many of you may have seen the large black plume of smoke coming out of the Harbor Area today. The source was the Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington where a non-emergency flaring operation was conducted following a loss of power to the plant. The LAFD said no response was required from them.
"At approximately 2pm Saturday, there was a complete loss of power at the Phillips 66 Los Angeles refinery, causing the refinery to shut down. Personnel responded quickly and brought the units down safely." said Betsey Brien, spokesperson for the refinery. "Power has been restored by the local utility (DWP) as of 4pm. Phillips 66 is in the process of safely restarting the refinery."
The Air Quality Management District has been on site.
Flare systems are designed to provide for the safe disposal of hydrocarbons that are either automatically vented or manually drawn from process units at refineries. Hydrocarbons must be controlled in a safe and effective manner in the event of an operational upset. Flare systems gather vented gases and combust them to prevent release directly into the atmosphere.
There could be intermittent flaring for the next two days. Phillips 66 is in the process of restarting the refinery.
"The residents of Harbor Area are not affected by the release," said LAFD Battalion Chief Ray Gomez. "When anything like this happens, the community looks to us to safeguard the citizens and it is our role to advise the community, and it is safe."
"The plume was 300-400 yards in the air and it dissipated into the atmosphere," said Gomez.