Accidental sulfur release at Valero refinery

April 6, 2009 12:26:58 PM PDT
Sulfur gas was unintentionally released from the Valero refinery Monday morning, Valero officials said.

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The release happened around 6 a.m. in the sulfur recovery unit where sulfur is removed from oil, Valero spokesman in San Antonio, Texas Bill Day said. The release, which smells like rotten eggs, was "in the parts per billion," Day said.

There are no health concerns and a shelter-in-place order was not issued, Day said. Day attributed the release to an "upset" or malfunction in the sulfur recovery unit. He said it did not affect production at the refinery.

The cause of the release is still under investigation. Benicia police confirmed neither an emergency nor a shelter-in-place order was issued.

Janet Peck, a spokeswoman at the refinery, said the release happened in the processing block of the plant at 3400 E. Second St. She said the release was "secured" and was expected to dissipate soon if it had not already done so.

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