Sunday, January 14, 2018

fence line monitors

New EPA refinery rules require continuous fence line monitoring for benzene, beginning February 2018. Unfortunately the new regulations do not require public access to the real time benzene level data, and there are no requirements to timely inform the community of high benzene levels.

Refineries will report 12-month data sets of the 2-week averages of the real time data, with adjustments for local conditions, and calculate a 12 month average. When the annual average benzene concentration level is 9 ug/m3 or higher, the facility is required to conduct root cause analysis and corrective action.  [ Rolling average of the 26 - 2 week readings.]

Refineries will be allowed 45 days after the 12-month period to prepare and submit the reports. Then, local DEQ's and the EPA will have a 30 day review period before the data is available to the public via an EPA website. While monitoring begins early 2018, the first data sets are not expected until Spring of 2019.

In the meantime, residents can take their own samples with the help of environmental groups like the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Global Community Monitor, and Public Lab.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

air quality update

St Bernard Parish Louisiana is very close to finally reducing sulfur dioxide levels to the EPA one hour health standard.

For many years the air quality in St Bernard Parish failed the EPA standards for sulfur dioxide. Recent changes to air permits at major sources in Chalmette and Meraux have reduced the ambient sulfur dioxide levels. 

This is one of the important first steps to improving public health in the community. Other improvements could be made for the hydrogen sulfide and methane levels, which often attribute to the nauseating odors frequently experienced along St Bernard Highway and in the neighborhoods around Chalmette Refining, Rain CII, and also Valero Energy. Another improvement could be coming once these facilities install continuous fenceline monitoring for benzene; this monitoring for benzene is expected in early 2018.

When a community fails the air quality health standard, it is designated NON-ATTAINMENT. 

Non-attainment for sulfur dioxide occurs when modeling demonstrates air quality fails the standard, or when data from a local air monitor demonstrates the 3-year average of the 99th percentile reading for sulfur dioxide is not below 75 parts per billion. 

According to EPA's Data Now website:
For the year 2015, St Bernard's 99th percentile for SO2 was 82 ppb; for the year 2016, St Bernard's 99th percentile for SO2 was 85 ppb. For the year 2017, it is anticipated that St Bernard Parish's 99th percentile will be 57.1 ppb. Based on those numbers, the 3 year average will be 74.7 parts per billion. While that high number means the air quality is only 0.3 points away from failing the health standard, it just may be low enough to place our community back on the road to recovery. And that's a major improvement.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. --- Margaret Mead

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

"My Toxic Reality"

"My Toxic Reality" by Hilton Kelley, 2011 Goldman Prize winner, USA

Friday, November 10, 2017

construction in neighborhood

Valero sending their construction trucks through the neighborhood.
Valero could be a good neighbor and conduct themselves on a daily basis in a way which respects the human beings who reside on the other side of the fence; but they dont.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

it's going to be a hot one today

it's going to be a hot one today, with morning temperature readings in the lower two hundreds

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

dangers of high frequency sounds

From time to time high frequency noise emanates from nearby plants and becomes more than just a nuisance to residents; it becomes a public health issue. 

Over many years, the LDEQ dismissed this known offsite effect as a local jurisdiction issue, and local officials claimed lack of personnel and lack of monitors to enforce. The plants claim weekend staffing issues.

Currently, local ordinances tend to only address the loudness of noise level measured in decibels and not the pitch or frequency of noise measured in hertz (Hz).

According to the American Hearing Research Foundation " Generally noise induce hearing loss occurs at a pitch of about 2000 - 4000 Hz". 

The dangers of high frequency sounds should be addressed by both local officials and the Louisiana DEQ. Both State and Parish officials could develop ordinances to protect the public's hearing. At the very least any noise monitors in the community should include frequency measurements, and those measurements should be posted in real time to a publicly accessible website. 

This is an issue the residents of St Bernard have been begging for help with. There is no lack of knowledge of the source of the noise. It is a well documented offsite affect.  There seems to be alot of attention on the worker's hearing protection but none for the human beings who reside just on the other side of the fence.

In this article link below, about the Sonic Attack in Cuba, "the incident has brought up questions over how quickly sound waves can cause hearing loss without warning signs.

"Dr. Darius Kohan, director of otology and neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital/Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, said that it’s possible for sound to irreparably damage the ear without a person knowing their hearing is being impacted."
What are we waiting for?

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