Control of Emissions from Refinery Flares

A Flare is a tall stack equipped with burners used as a safety device. Flares are used for the combustion and disposal of combustible gases due to emergency relief, overpressure, process upsets, startups, shutdowns, and other operational safety reasons.

Planned flare events occur during scheduled maintenance, the start-up of a process unit, or other activities where a refinery or related source can reasonably anticipate the need to dispose of any excess refinery gases these activities may produce.

Unplanned flare events occur during emergencies caused by an equipment breakdown, power outage or other upset beyond a refinery's control, when flares are used to safely burn compressed gases that could otherwise pose potential risks to workers, the community or the environment.

Seven petroleum refining facilities (at eight locations), three hydrogen plants and one sulfur recovery plant within the South Bay region of Los Angeles County operate a total of 30 flares subject to the requirements of Rule 1118 - Control of Emissions from Refinery Flares (96.4KB pdf).
Under Rule 1118, each of these facilities is required to:

  •     Maintain a 24-hour public inquiry telephone hotline;

  •     Notify South Coast AQMD of flare events (both planned and unplanned);

  •     Reduce emissions to meet specific targets;

  •     Develop a flare minimization plan if they fail to meet the emission targets;

  •     Monitor flare emissions; and

  •     Submit quarterly emission reports to South Coast AQMD.

Community members are encouraged to:

  • Call the appropriate flare hotline telephone numbers for information about flares or flare events at these facilities;

  • Sign up to receive email notifications of planned and unplanned flare events; and

  • Report smoke or odor complaints associated with flares (or any other air quality problems) to South Coast AQMD by calling 1-800-CUT-SMOG.

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

21865 Copley Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765



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