Updated Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
The Valero refinery is performing a controlled shutdown to "improve conditions and minimize risk," according to a statement from Benicia city officials. The shutdown could last multiple days and result in visible flaring.
Earlier Sunday, city officials issued an advisory notice for residents with respiratory issues to stay inside after a 2-week-old problem at the Valero refinery worsened.
But now that the refinery is shutting down, city officials and Solano County health officer Bela Matyas say the air quality is safe for residents.
Valero Advisory Update - 10:30 a.m.
Benicia Fire Department continues to monitor air quality. Readings show that levels have significantly improved and are currently in the safe range. #ValeroScrubberIncident
— City of Benicia (@CityofBenicia) March 24, 2019
The problem at the Valero refinery began on March 11 when a malfunction involving one of the refinery's units led to the release of petroleum coke dust.