Saturday, May 28, 2011

pedestrian friendly

Sidewalks.  Removed under a questionable resolution passed in an equally questionable amended council agenda, the sidewalks removed by Murphy Oil are being replaced by FEMA road work projects.  The sidewalks were removed by Murphy Oil during demolition of the houses sold to the refinery through the former voluntary buyup program.

This means our kids will have a safer place to ride bikes and walk this summer; a safe place to play other than the streets. 

Interesting enough, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prohibits this type of contruction within 1,500 feet of the Mississippi River Levee when the water levels are above 11 feet.  With the  rising Mississippi River, the New Orleans Carrolton Flood Gage measures just around 17 feet and is expected to remain at high levels through the month of June 2011.

Friday, May 27, 2011

ExxonMobil Coke Barn

Pictured above in January 2011

The rising Mississippi River levels have affected barge traffic.  Among the many effects on industry along the river, one refinery in Chalmette is now using its old, dilapidated petroleum coke barn for storage. Although Louisiana DEQ is allowing use of the open air coke barn, a compliance order was issued earlier this month ordering the roof repairs within six (6) months. Residents are concerned about the health effects of the toxic dust in their lungs and are frustrated with lack of local enforcement.

Pictured below in February 2011

Perhaps you've noticed the blight and disrepair to the ExxonMobil coke barn on St Bernard Hwy.

ExxonMobil is said to be the richest corporation on the planet Earth, yet they disrespect our community.

 At first, ExxonMobil claimed the new business model  did not include the coke barn, but wanted to keep the Title V air permit current for the coke barn in the event economic conditions changed.  Louisiana DEQ agreed and allowed the coke barn to continue to collapse while still under the regulatory permit.  It didnot seem that local government took action.

Several Citizens have been concerned  about the dilapidated condition of the ExxonMobil coke barn and the threat to life and property should a wind storm carry a roof panel into adjacent neighborhoods. Not to mention the petroleum coke dust  and its affect to our lungs.  Although ExxonMobil claimed the coke barn was emptied , the coke dust would remain unless every nook and cranny were washed and wiped down.

Today, this May 13 2011 document posted to the LDEQ EDMS under AI # 1376.

  ExxonMobil in Chalmette is now using the coke barn due to barge traffic issues with the rising Mississippi River. LDEQ has issued a compliance order ordering repair of the roof within six (6) months. ...... SIX MONTHS of lung damage in the opinion of residents.

If local ordinances do not provide for protection of health and safety from industrial companies, new legislation should be written that will provide protection.

Pictured below May 2011

Another variance granted by Louisiana DEQ due to the rising river and potential for flooding includes flexibility in storage tanks and a variance for flaring:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Louisiana 1927 flood

Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927 song and photos

In 1927, the levees were lower, saturated with previous rainfall in Louisiana, and stressed with a higher flow rate, "an estimated 2,120,000 cfs raced past at the height of the 1927 flood".  That is significantly higher than the 1,500,000 cfs the U S Army Corps strives to maintain in 2011.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Morganza Spillway Opening

Reported 25,000 residents empacted  as Louisiana spillway opens   The Canadian Press

About 2,500 people and 2,000 structures are within the spillway and another 22,500 and 11,000 buildings are vulnerable to flooding when the waters rise, according to Jindal’s office  --Bloomberg News

and From LEAN and LMRK :   News on Atchafalaya River Basin and backwater areas

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

smell something stinky?

Report it!

Odor Log It & Call DEQ!

CH_VISTA monitor health standard exceedances Tuesday May 10, 2011 
(ambient air monitor exceedance of the EPA one-hour health sulfur dioxide standard of 75 ppb) 

Sulfur dioxide levels at 11 am -  100.9 ppb, at 3pm -- 98.3 ppb, at 4pm -- 80.6 ppb, at 6pm --137.3 ppb, at 7pm -- 111.5 ppb.  

The CH_VISTA data is available on the Louisiana DEQ website.  These high readings were on the same day of a  reported minor benzene and hydrogen sulfide leak (Bloomberg).

Monday, May 9, 2011

health standards exceeded, again

CH_VISTA exceeds health standards again for sulfur dioxide

Today May 9 2011 the sulfur dioxide readings at CH_VISTA are once again over the EPA one-hour health standard of 75 ppb.

Starting with a hydrogen sulfide spike of 9 ppb at 2 am, the sulfur dioxide rose to 73.6 ppb at 4am and peaked at 157.8 ppb and 151.7 ppb at 8am and 9am. The sulfur dioxide readings continued with 75.7 ppb at 11am and 83.2 and 84.1 at 4pm and 5pm.   The air monitor readings peaked at 217.8 ppb sulfur dioxide at 9pm and 102.3 ppb at 11pm

This ambient air monitor is located in Chalmette Vista neighborhood's Bluebird Park, which is in close proximity to the Chalmette Elementary School.

These readings are accessible from   the La DEQ website: Use the right hand column ON AIR Current AQI data menu, seltect "site data" on the far right of the upper menu and select "CH_VISTA" and today's date. Press submit. also at this link

On the chart, add two hours to the displayed time in order to obtain the correct time. This is due to daylight savings time and the time configuration of the data loggers that poll each air monitor.

Smell something stinky? Contact La DEQ. Use the upper menu on the home page and select online services, select online reports and citizen reports. Or email SPOC at LA.GOV

Saturday, May 7, 2011

dare to dance the tides

This time last year our community was effected by the tragic wellhead explosion on the BP rig and the subsequent oil gusher. To help keep the oil at bay, the freshwater diversion at Violet Canal was opened at an increased rate; the diversion helped keep the oil out of some estuaries, but the change in salinity effected others.

 Now, the Mississippi River is rising," just like she used to do ".

 Yet this year the river is challenging all communities along her banks and will soon test the old river structure north of Baton Rouge.

The State of Louisiana has notified residents along the Morganza River ~ Spillway to prepare to evacuate as the state plans to open the Marganza Floodway for the first time since 1973.

The Mississippi River will also be diverted through another floodway, the Bonnie Carrie Spillway, which will carry the river into the Lake Pontchartrain, Lakes Catherine and Borgne, and out into the Gulf of Mexico.  Essentially, the fresh waters of the Mississippi River will replace the brackish lake waters, effecting the estuaries once again this year.

In St Bernard Parish, adjacent to the ExxonMobil refinery, the Chalmette Ferry terminal  has noted levee seepage and the Army Corps and local officials are working today to address the river seepage with sand berms. Local news media have reported river level issues at Domino Sugars  refinery in Arabi, as one would expect any of the various industries along the river to have particular challenges with the rising river levels' effects on the docks and facilities.

 The flood gage upriver from Chalmette is the Carrollton (New Orleans) flood gage, which measures 15.63 feet today.  Flood level at Carrollton is 17 feet and the levees are constructed to protect up to a 20 foot flood range; the Mississippi River is expected to crest at 19.5 feet  May 22nd and remain at high levels for three weeks. The 19.5 foot crest is based on the opening of the Bonnie Carrie; for further protection, the Army Corps plans to open the Morganza Floodway as well.
select water levels by "New Orleans District" and the district basin "Mississippi River & Passes"  .
It's going to get very interesting, very soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chalmette Vista Sulfur readings exceed health standards

Chalmette Vista ambient air monitor readings exceed SO2 health standards for three consecutive days.

In late April 2011, sulfur dioxide readings at the Chalmette Vista ambient air monitoring site exceeded the one-hour health standard of 75 ppb with the highest reading of 254 ppb on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. 

Sulfur dioxide readings on Monday and Tuesday, April 25 and April 26, 2011, also reached the 200 ppb level.  The US EPA set the one-hour health standard for SO2 at 75 ppb to protect public health.

The ambient air monitoring data is accessible at this link, under site data, select CH_VISTA

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