The Torrance, CA, ExxonMobil refinery went back online last week just over a year after a large explosion caused it to shut down.
The refinery was on schedule to start last Tuesday around 2:45 a.m., but the start time ended up pushed back to later in the morning. For days, work crews prepared for the refinery reopening.
ExxonMobil even sent out an advisory to alert the community they would turn off the air pollution control system for several hours after the restart of operations. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will monitor levels of pollutants emitted during that period.
Some schools in the area said they will restrict children’s outdoor activities during the refinery’s restart.
In February 2015, an explosion at the plant injured two people and launched an 80,000-pound piece of equipment within feet of a structure that housed a highly volatile and toxic substance, modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF).
Federal investigators in January said a failure to follow safety guidelines was partly to blame for the blast and that the aftermath could have been “catastrophic” had the equipment hit the unit housing MHF.
California workplace regulators fined ExxonMobil over $500,000 for violations related to the explosion.