BAAQMD’s Useless Reporting Process

After last night’s smelly emissions (see pics from previous post), we called the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) Odor Hotline. Here is a recap:


5:30 pm — driving north on 680 near Concord, saw large white emissions in sky west of 680

7:45  pm — drove to Shell refinery and took pictures of the huge white clouds coming out of the refinery, from the corner of Howe and Pacheco.  we also smelled a skunky acrid smell by the refinery.

8:10 pm — called BAAQMD odor hotline to report.  talked to answering service.


9:30 AM – received call back from BAAQMD staff Almira Van (415-749-8711).  I told her all this info again.  She said that usually when it gets cold out those types of things are just steam.  When I asked her what kind of documentation she had from last night, she said that she had not even talked to the refinery yet! I said that we live in Martinez and we see the sky around the refinery every day, and we never see this size of cloud, even though it has been very cold for several weeks.  She said sometimes the refinery has to let off a lot of steam.  She asked me how long the smell was there and I said I didn’t know.  

She also said that she hoped that telling me it was just steam would make me feel better; I told her i wasn’t interesting in feeling better, but I would like BAAQMD to enforce the regulations.  She said they do regular inspections and the refineries have to tell the Air District when something happens.  I said that I didn’t really trust the refineries; I live here and have to breathe what they put into the air.  I also asked her to send me the final report from their investigation and she agreed to do that.  She also said she would call me back after she called the refinery.

About Martinez Environmental Group

We are a community health and environmental group located in Martinez, CA.
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