Tanker berthed at Phillips 66 refinery may be cause of sheen in San Pablo Bay

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ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Sheen in San Pablo Bay may be connected to Vallejo odor
Officials are investigating to determine whether an odor in Vallejo is connected to a 40-yard sheen that was located in the northern part of the San Pablo Bay Wednesday morning.

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- The U.S. Coast Guard located oil sheen coming from a tanker berthed at the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery Marine Terminal on San Pablo Avenue in Rodeo Wednesday morning.

The oil sheen could be seen in the northern part of San Pablo Bay, which caused massive delays to ferry service.

Phillips 66 officials released a statement saying: "At 8:00 a.m., a light oily sheen was discovered at the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery Marine Terminal. At the time, a tanker was berthed at the marine terminal. Our internal response team immediately responded to the incident and we notified the National Response Center (NRC) and the United States Coast Guard. Operations at the marine terminal have been temporarily shut down and we are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies regarding the response. The exact volume of material released is still being determined, and the cause of the incident is under investigation. At this time, there have been no injuries associated with the release and there is no anticipated health impact to the community. The safety of the community, the environment and our people are of utmost importance to our company and these priorities will guide our efforts as we work with the agencies on the response."

Officials said the oil sheen may be connected to an odor that hospitalized dozens in Vallejo Tuesday night.

RELATED: Mystery odor in Vallejo prompts shelter-in-place

The smell seemed to be most concentrated on the southern side of Vallejo in the Beverly Hills Park and Glen Cove Park neighborhoods.

The odor can no longer be detected in Vallejo. Meanwhile officials are investigating the sheen on the water.

City leaders are getting a lot of calls from residents in Vallejo wondering what the smell was. Officials had to bring in crews to handle at least 800 phone calls that came in from concerned residents. A shelter-in-place order for the smell was lifted early Wednesday morning.

Vallejo residents have been told by officials it's safe to leave the house and school is back in session. But ferry service was unexpectedly shut down.

Many people were surprised the rotten smell and sheen led to ferry service disruption.

"It was strong, it burned your nose. It smelled like bad rotten eggs, I got home and it was all in my place," a Vallejo resident said.

Officials said the sheen and smell were reported at the same time. "They do seem to be tied, in fact they happened at the same time. Again with the sheen being a mile long and 40 yards wide, it seems like it's more than just a coincidence that they occurred at the same time," Vallejo Fire Department spokesperson Kevin Brown said.

Fire officials don't think the source of the smell is in Vallejo. Their gas detectors didn't pick up the trace of gas in the air and nothing was reported from the refineries. "We're continuing to check in with them, but so far they've reported there's been no burn offs and that there is nothing coming from them," Brown said.

Officials said ferry service has resumed in Vallejo.