Sunday, October 31, 2010

hydrogen sulfide spikes in Meraux

On Saturday Oct 30 2010 the Joe Davies Elementary school playground “Meraux” air monitor's hydrogen sulfide reading spiked to 16 ppb or 0.016 ppm. 

 “EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect children and the elderly.

Also on Saturday Oct 30 2010 the Bluebird Park plaground in Chalmette Vista neighborhood  Ch_Vista Community Air Monitor site reading for hydrogen sulfide spiked to 10 ppb or 0.01 ppm, and the particulate matter 2.5 reading spiked to 28 ppb.

also accessible at  right hand menu, select ON AIR, select "Site Data"

Photo October 30, 2010


Saturday, October 30, 2010

bunk house buffer

A few more homeowners have opted to sell to the Murphy refinery pursuant Turner v Murphy Order and Reasons along with the understanding from the  Fairness Hearing  

According to the parish attorney, in earlier council meetings, the Murphy refinery's agreement with our community is to clear the land for greenspace.  But, he also said they would leave the street lights because not everyone will sell and some will remain in the neighborhood. 

Now, the Murphy refinery proposes to use some of these homes for workers who will be required to "check-in to a bunk house" when their work shift runs over time and the commute home does not allow enough time for the much needed rest before the next day's shift. 

We know the Historic Arabi neighborhood requires special zoning and a license to operate either a bed and breakfast or a lodging house.  Residents wonder if our local code will be enforced and if local officials will take initiative to help us preserve the integrity of our residential neighborhood and protect our property values.

Even before Hurricane Katrina, the residents were subjected to transient refinery workers who parked in the neighborhood, trespassed, stole, and even jumped the canal to gain entry into the Murphy Meraux plant.  After Katrina, some Murphy refinery workers were arrested in the neighborhood for trespassing, stealing and carrying guns.

Murphy Oil has also proposed to sell some of the buffer lots to a local seafood restaurant for commercial expansion. In July 2010 Murphy Oil announced its intentions to exit the refinery business and the refinery manager indicated the buffer lots, administration building, tank farms and terminal would be sold as one unit, along with the refinery campus.

The Murphy Oil refinery has taken to boarding up the blighted houses, presumably before demolition.

Friday, October 29, 2010

sulfur dioxide over 200 ppb at Chal_Vista

October 25, 2010, the LDEQ air monitor at Bluebird neighborhood park had readings over the new health sulfur dioxide standard of 75 ppb for an hourly reading.  By 6pm the sulfur dioxide was well over the health standard, measuring over 200 ppb in the evening and remaining over the health standard the next morning.

Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 25 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 24 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings as of 10 pm Oct 26 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 26 2010
Chal_Vista monitor readings Oct 27 2010

"Site Data" for the Chal_Vista monitor can be viewed at this link
also accessible at  right hand menu, select ON AIR, select "Site Data", select Chal-Vista, select Oct 25 2010. Add two hours to display time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hospital Funding

from a post by Mr. Landry, Chairman HSD
and from information at Townhall Meeting, also viewable on Channel 76

the bids for the hospital construction are due November 9 2010

the funds that are obtained are as follows:

A) $17 million capital outlay from the State of Louisiana

......restrictions are: 1) must be built within 3 miles of Jackson barracks ; 2) must be at least 40 beds; 3) must have all funds to build it and operate it identified; 4) money not available until second half of next year (July 2011)

B) $1.3 million HRSA grant........restrictions are no soft costs and must have approval of use, (this money used on phase 1 site prep)

C) $41 million CDBG funds.....restrictions....only used for items approved by state......state reluctant to give overall approval of soft costs, very heavily monitored and audited and primarily for construction and equipment costs.

D) $10 million New Market Tax Credits......very complicated in order to secure these funds, but a lot less restrictive than the other funding sources.

E) 10 year – 8 mill property tax revenue stream bonded out for $16.2 mill loan for start-up operations cash flow.  The property tax referendum is on the November 2 2010 ballot.  The bids for the hospital are due on November 9 2010. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Air Bus Visit

The LDEQ conducting mobile air monitoring around the Murphy Oil facility with its mobile air monitoring laboratory (MAML).  The air monitoring occured during a time when the Meraux facility was operating at reduced rates. Citizen's Report during air bus visit. 

 According to LDEQ's report, the wind direction with respect to the MAML’s location was opposite from the required direction.

Although residents have been concerned with the emissions during flaring events, the MAML’s focus was on the waste water treatment plant and conducted during a time of no flaring and no odors. There is no verification from LDEQ regarding whether or not the WWTP was operational on the test dates nor is there information regarding the biosolids sludge press operations.

The MAML had a power failure which hampered data collection and thwarted the VOC post sampling calibration. VOCs are volatile organic compounds and have no colour, smell, or taste. VOCs include a very wide range of individual substances, such as hydrocarbons, including benzen and toluene.

None the less, the highest level of H2S was 4.2 ppb or 0.0042 ppm.

Remember, 10 ppb = 0.01 ppm


“EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect sensitive people such as children and the elderly.”

Hopefully the air bus will return on a day where the refinery is flaring and the residents are sick from the offsite effects.

Air Bus Sample Results

There is reason to believe the refinery was not operating at capacity due to a catalyst changeout. August 2, 2010 was an unusually quiet, good air day

Citizen's Report during and after Air Bus visit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

chronic exposure

coma and death can occur at exposure levels as low as 50 ppm--

Human Health Effects from Exposure to Low-Level Concentrations of Hydrogen Sulfide
EXPOSURE to high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas is a well-documented and understood hazard. OSHA and NIOSH standards have long recognized this acute risk with appropriate short-term maximum exposure levels for workers. However, long-term, chronic exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide is not as well understood.
To read the complete article, please go to:

The article continues:

“Kilburn and Warshaw (1995) concluded neurophysiologic abnormalities were associated with average H2S concentration levels of 10 ppb with peaks of 100 ppb in a neighborhood of exposed residents.”

Remember, 10 ppb = 0.01 ppm


“EPA set the safe exposure level at 0.00014 ppm to protect sensitive people such as children and the elderly.”

The community air monitors at our only high school (known as Chal_High site) have recorded H2S readings as high as 58 ppb or 0.058 ppm.  click here for link to report which also documents a school site in Lower Algiers (across the river from the ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery) whose air monitor recorded H2S readings as high as 91 ppb or 0.091 ppm. This Lower Algiers monitoring station site is known as Entergy and was   dismantled in 2008 in preparation for Hurricane Gustav.  It was never restored. Lower Algiers is an under-served, economically disadvantaged neighborhood.

The Joe Davies school playground (known as the Meraux site) and the Bluebird Park neighborhood playground (known as the Chal_Vista site) also record hydrogen sulfide in ppb.

This morning, the Joe Davies school playground’s hydrogen sulfide exposure level was as high as 6 ppb or 0.006 ppm. (Add two hours to the displayed time in order to obtain the correct time.) 

The World Health Organization (WHO 1981) advises “ambient concentration levels should not exceed 5 ppb, with a 30-minute averaging time.”

The community air monitors’ readings are accessible at the Louisiana Dept. Of Environmental Quality’s   website right hand column On Air menu , select ‘site data’, select Meraux or Chal_Vista.   Also available at this link

Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous gas.  It has been found in some drywall materials. Residents with contaminated drywall have reported nose bleeds and other health effects from the offgasing of H2S inside their homes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery hydrogen sulfide release

Bloomberg News reports  on October 4, 2010 offsite air monitoring detected 21 to 40 parts per billion.

Our community's prayerful thoughts are with this young man and his family during this tragedy.

Post Note:  State-Police-Hazmat-Incident-Initial-Report

Monday, October 11, 2010


The Hospital Service District will conduct a Q & A Session at an evening community townhall meeting on Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 7pm in the Council Chambers.  The HSD is requesting a property tax millage; the voter referendum is on the November 2nd ballot.

For More Information:

The HSD Board meets every other Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Link to excerpts from Financial analysis  . 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Comment Opportunity

There are two Public Comment Opportunity(s) on the US EPA Consent Decree with Murphy Oil.

Notice in Federal Register

US EPA 30 day Comment Opportunity from October 6, 2010 to November 5, 2010

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and either e-mailed to  or mailed to P.O. Box 7611, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20044–7611, and should refer to the matter as United States, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., DOJ Ref. No. 90 - 5 - 2 - 1 - 09186

Louisiana DEQ 45 day Comment Opportunity thru December 6, 2010
 Submit written comments to the LDEQ, Office of the Secretary, Legal Affairs Division, Post Office Box 4302, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4302 Attn: Dwana C. King, Attorney, Legal Affairs Division.  Ref: Settlement Number SA-AE-10-0071; Enforcement Number MM-CN-02-0015 or email  with same contact and reference.

During the EPA 30 day public comment period, the proposed agreements may be viewed on this site:

The Consent Decree is posted in the LDEQ EDMS under AI # 1238 document 7673947 or at this link

or, AFTER the LDEQ Public Notice expected this week, the Consent Decree will be posted on the LDEQ website at by selecting upper menu Divisions, Enforcement, and Settlement Agreements. Also at this link

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Murphy Oil says
the sale is on track to be a done deal by the end of the first quarter next year.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Murphy Oil Crude Oil spill contamination lingers

contaminated soil and ground water at former St Mark's Church and School site

lingering crude oil contamination 5 years after Murphy Oil crude oil spill

(I personally hope the school board does more extensive testing).

Recent soil and ground water testing results at former St. Mark's Church and School Site, where St. Bernard Parish School Board is planning another elementary school.

----levels exceeded RECAP screening standards for non-industrial land use for TPH-DRO, TPH-ORO and three PAH compounds: Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)flouranthene, and Benzo(a)pyrene

---the RECAP screening standard protective for groundwater was exceeded for the PAH compund 2-methylnaphthalene


sample results
Incident 125885

these links may be more accessible

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