On Monday, the Martinez Refining Company released results from a third-party lab which showed dust found on cars and buildings in the City of Martinez was “spent catalyst” that originated from the refinery’s Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit.
On November 25, residents in the downtown Martinez area reported the white substance and it prompted Contra Costa Health Services and the Air District to investigate.
This also prompted the Martinez Refining Company to offer residents having trouble removing the dust from vehicles, to provide car washes to those in the affected areas.
Per the Martinez Refining Company:
Martinez Refining Company has received preliminary test results from a third-party laboratory for the dust found on cars and buildings, primarily in the Downtown Martinez area, on November 25, 2022. The tests confirm the samples are “spent catalyst” that originated from the refinery’s Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit.
We are awaiting further lab results, but the preliminary analysis shows the primary makeup of the spent catalyst includes alumina silicate, clay, and other minerals mined from the earth. The catalyst had been incinerated at high temperatures to remove impurities for reuse in the refining process and was accidentally released during overnight hours on Thanksgiving night. We are very sorry this release of spent catalyst occurred and apologize to our neighbors who found the material on their vehicles, homes, and buildings. This material can be removed by rinsing with water from surfaces such as patio furniture, driveways, and plants.
During the same timeframe as the spent catalyst release, Martinez Refining Company experienced an unrelated flaring event due to an equipment malfunction. Flares are an essential part of a refinery’s integrated, engineered safety systems that safely and effectively manage excess combustible gases by burning them off efficiently and effectively. We also apologize for impacting our neighbors during the intermittent flaring. The lab findings conclusively confirm the spent catalyst found in the community is unrelated to flaring.
Martinez Refining Company representatives have been providing information related to the incident to both the Contra Costa County Health Department and Bay Area Air Quality Management District. We have also been in contact with local public officials, as well as residents and businesses.
For anyone who may have difficulty removing the spent catalyst from their vehicles, Martinez Refining Company has made arrangements with Autopia Car Wash, to provide car washes to Martinez residents and businesses in the affected area through December 2, 2022.
- 3950 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez
- Monday-Friday 11/28-12/2, 9am – 4:30pm
Please provide your driver’s license as proof of Martinez residency.
If you experience issues removing the substance with water on any surfaces, or if you have questions, please contact [email protected] so we can contact you directly.
We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation.