-Bay City News
Contra Costa Health Services has issued a health advisory Tuesday afternoon because of some flaring at the .
A problem occurred at the refinery at about 12:40 p.m., said Randy Sawyer, the agency's chief environmental health and hazardous materials officer.
Sawyer said a vessel at the refinery somehow became "overpressurized," which activated a safety mechanism that releases pressure through flaring.
The flaring is visible to those in the area, he said.
"About every minute or so you get a big puff of black smoke," Sawyer said. He said the smoke contains sulfur dioxide and other combustible products.
The flaring is considered a "Level 2" incident, meaning residents with respiratory problems or other health conditions are being advised to stay indoors, but there is no mandatory shelter-in-place warning.
No community warning sirens are being activated and no automated phone calls are going out, he said.
The health advisory was issued at 1:31 p.m. Sawyer said Contra Costa Health Services didn't issue the advisory right away because the situation was still being assessed.
"If they could stop it right away, we wouldn't have called a Level 2," he said.
Last week's was considered a "Level 3” incident -- the highest level in the agency's classification system.