Even after Chevron apologized last week for unpleasant odors believed to be emanating from its sulfur treatment facilities, Manhattan Beach officials continued to field calls about smells on Monday.
City officials said firefighters investigated a "strong odor of gasoline" late Sunday near Highland Avenue and 31st Street, several blocks south of the El Segundo plant. Residents began complaining about the same odor after midnight and into early Monday, they said.
According to Chevron's Rod Spackman, recent odor complaints relate to the refinery's unplanned Jan. 13 burnoff that was caused by a disruption to the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit. That prompted Chevron to take its FCC unit down and send fuel gas to a safety flare, at which point a ground fire broke out.
"We had a couple of small odor incidents dealing with our sulfur plants," Spackman said. "They all tie back to the incident with the FCC."
In a Jan. 18 letter to neighbors, General Manager Frank Semancik wrote, "I would like to personally apologize for the unintended impact we have had on the community over the past several days," explaining the refinery has experienced "a few intermittent operation issues" with the sulfur treatment units.
"While the smells can be quite unpleasant - often like rotten eggs or a freshly paved street - they do not pose a unique health risk," he said.
Manhattan City Manager Dave Carmany met Monday with refinery officials to address the problems.
- Kristin S. Agostoni