Refinery still investigating suspicious smoke

Yellow plumes of smoke could be seen coming from the Chevron refinery.

The Chevron refinery is still investigating an incident that resulted in thick yellow smoke billowing out of one its chimneys on Monday February 26.

Residents living around the refinery were alarmed by the smoke and took to social media with their concerns.

Richwood Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (RRRA) chairman, Kenny Brookes, said Chevron had told him the plume — which he had seen from Richwood — was caused by the monthly cleaning of the chimneys.

Tabletalk also received a letter from Melkbosstrand resident Francois Rossouw who wanted to know what kind of smoke had been released into the air (“Blowing smoke,” Tabletalk letters, February 28).

In a media statement Chevron spokeswoman Suzanne Pullinger said that the smoke was the result of an “operational incident”.

“The refinery is currently undergoing its scheduled maintenance and safety inspection which started on 15 February,” she said.

Last week, Ms Pullinger told Tabletalk the plant was in a stable condition.

“The occurrence resulted from an unexpected trip of a steam-generating boiler, which resulted in a steam supply dip, giving rise to visible emissions.

“Both the cause of the incident and its impact are still under investigation at this point.”

She did not respond to our question about what kind of chemicals were released in the smoke.

She said anyone with concerns should SMS the word “info” or “query” to 30786 (at no charge) and a refinery representative will contact them directly.