Shell has shut down its refinery at Martinez and Pacheco after an early morning “upset” at the Shell oil refinery.
The “unit upset” was reported at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.
SFGate.com quoted Shell spokeswoman Kristin Marczak declined to provide specifics about the incident but compared it to a “ car running and you have an unplanned shutdown of that car. We have a number of units within the plant that operate and one of those units had kind of an unplanned shutdown.”
There were no explosions, flaring or injuries, Marczak said. Nonetheless, Shell issued a health alert for areas near the refinery.
“Out of an abundance of caution we issued a community warning level two, because there is potential for eye, skin or respiratory irritation,” Marczak said. “There is the potential for odors to reach outside of our refinery boundary.
Contra Costa County health officials said that people should view the warning only as an advisory and that “most people will not be affected.”
“If people experience any irritation, advise them to go inside and rinse any irritated area of their body with water,” county health officials wrote in a public health alert.
There is no shelter-in-place warning and no “immediate threat,” Marczak said.
“We haven’t signaled that anything has left the site,” she said. “It’s really just an awareness for folks with sensitivity, but otherwise it’s safe to be outside.”
The website reported that County health officials were not available for comment.