The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) released a technical evaluation report on piping samples taken from the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA, where a hydrocarbon release and massive fire occurred on Aug. 6, 2012. Cal/OSHA participated in this technical evaluation as part of its enforcement investigation.
The report, prepared by Anamet, Inc., a metallurgical laboratory in Hayward, CA, concludes that the 8-inch steel pipe, from a section designated as 4-sidecut which was installed in 1976, ruptured due to severe sulfidation corrosion, and that tested pipe samples showed a very low concentration of corrosion-inhibiting silicon.
“This reports confirms what Chevron already knew– that the pipe was severely corroded and should have been replaced – but failed to act on before the August fire. This failure to act was included among the multiple Serious and Willful Serious citations issued to Chevron. Chevron’s own metallurgists and pipe inspectors reached the same conclusion and recommended as far back as 2002 that Chevron take action to protect its workers, the community and the environment by replacing the pipe that finally ruptured in 2012,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess.