Esther Kang

Chevron malfunction produces pungent odor

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The Chevron refinery in El Segundo. Photo by Pedro Szekely

The Chevron refinery in El Segundo. Photo by Pedro Szekely

Manhattan Beach officials are working with Chevron representatives to address the pungent odor that began permeating Sunday night throughout the El Segundo Refinery’s neighboring residences, City Manager Dave Carmany said.

“We are working quickly to make sure that these issues with the refinery have no other impacts with our residents, and pushing Chevron to work to ensure that we do not have these issues in the future,” Carmany said.

According to letter to nearby residents issued by Chevron, the smell stemmed  from an “operational upset” during preparation for a major routine maintence project Sunday evening that damaged some power lines and prompted the activation of Chevron’s safety systems.

This resulted in “a few intermittent operational issues” with the company’s sulfur treatment facilities that may have generated the smell, the letter explained.

Though reminscient of “rotten eggs or a freshly paved street,” the odors do not pose a unique health risk, according to Chevron.

The letter also noted that Chevron’s Health, Environment & Safety personnel are actively monitoring the perimeter of the facility to prevent the permeation of any hazardous compounds.

For updates on the situation, Chevron encourages residents to join its email distribution list by sending a request to to be added to the Manhattan Beach list. Residents can also contact the Chevron Refinery’s Public and Government Affairs office at 310-615-5254 during regular business hours. On evenings and weekends, residents can call Chevron’s 24-hour Community Hotline at 310-615-5342.

Related: Chevron, El Segundo reach $134 million settlement

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