By Mike Aldax, Richmond Standard
Richmond native Esam Sahouria says he’s always wondered what actually happens at the 2,900-acre Chevron Richmond Refinery.
So when Sahouria saw an ad for the Refinery’s Community Tour Day – when the refinery opens its doors for public tours — he signed up to learn something about his neighbor and brought along his two kids, ages 14 and 11, for a science lesson.
Pramila Tamrakar also saw the tour as an educational opportunity for her two sons. The boys particularly enjoyed the advanced ultra-sonic technology that uses sound waves to measure the thickness of the 5,000 miles of pipe that weave through the refinery grounds.
“The level of technology utilized at the refinery and the intricacy of the design is very impressive,” Tamrakar said.
The families were among an estimated 600 community members, workers and their families who were treated to a tour of the Chevron Refinery last Saturday, part of the refinery’s fifth annual tour day event.
Visitors were given an up-close view of Chevron’s operations and also learned about the company’s air monitoring and safety inspection programs (see photo below) and how the fuel-cleansing additive Techron was developed in Richmond.
“It was great to see so many of our neighbors come out to see the refinery,” said Public Affairs Manger Patty Canessa. “We are happy to open our doors so residents can see firsthand what we do and how it benefits the community we share.”
After the tour, visitors enjoyed free hamburgers provided by the Up and Under Pub in Point Richmond.
The event attracted visitors from all around the Bay Area and was especially significant for Richmond native Lonnie Hill, who remembered working at the refinery at age 17 as part of the City of Richmond’s summer youth employment program.
Now 63, Hill said he’s always remembered his summer at Chevron fondly, when he worked in the mailroom along with his brothers.
“I have real good memories of this place,” he said. “Being back here brought a tear to my eye.”