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Flares are safety and environmental devices designed to safely burn off excess gas from chemical plants or refineries. A flare is a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to sending excess gas to the atmosphere. It works similarly to burning natural gas on a stove top. Flares are designed with a pilot device that ignites the gas exiting the system to ensure the hydrocarbons/chemicals are safely combusted into carbon dioxide and water vapor before entering the atmosphere. Flare pilots stay lit (similar to water heaters) at all times. Size and brightness of the flame depends on the amount of gas going to the flare.
Flares are used primarily in two situations:
Emergency – process flow is interrupted by an emergency (equipment or power outage), the excess gas goes to a flare.
Startup/Shutdown - flares help the plants safely manage the wide range of gas production that can occur. See www.deerparkcac.org for more information on topics relating to local industry.