SCAQMD Staff Respond to Breakdown at Torrance Refinery

Update: July 15, 2016

 District staff responded this week to a breakdown at Torrance Refinery

in Torrance.  The Torrance Refining Company LLC (TRC)reported the incident on July 11thand informed the SCAQMD Hearing Board on July 14th at approximately 11:30 a.m. that the equipment is back online and in compliancewith District rules. 

 TRC reported the incident on Monday July 11th pursuant to SCAQMD Rule 430.  It started with a software upgrade and led to successive failures of the hydrogen plant, hydrotreater, and finally resulted in a shutdown of a key part of the facility known as the fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU).  Under District Rule 430, titled “Breakdown Provisions”, a facility that experiences an equipment breakdown may continue to operate equipment affected by the breakdown for up to 24 hours without incurring penalties, provided certain conditions in the rule are satisfied. Petitioning for an Emergency Variance with the SCAQMD Hearing Board enables a company to operate equipment beyond the 24 hour limit in the rule, which TRC did. 

 SCAQMD requested that the SCAQMD Hearing Board schedule an immediate hearing on the petition.  That hearing was scheduled for Thursday, July 14th, but was cancelled following TRC’s withdrawal of the petition after reporting compliance with SCAQMD rules. 

 SCAQMD enforcement staff are continuing to investigate whether a legitimate breakdown satisfying the conditions of Rule 430 occurred and are evaluating data obtained during District air monitoring following the incident.  Instruments monitoring for particulate matter were deployed at the refinery to supplement the monitors already on site. Initial measurements from those monitors show pollutant levels typical of ambient concentrations in the region.

 Torrance Refining Company, LLC purchased the refinery earlier this month from ExxonMobil.



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