Wednesday, September 21, 2011

air strikes

St. Bernard Parish’s failure to meet EPA’s new health protection standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) for sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations in community air may have a connection to lax emissions controls.  More stringent, state-of-the-art pollution controls may provide a solution.

In May 2011, the LDEQ recommended a non-attainment status for air quality in St. Bernard Parish based on community monitors that demonstrate exceedingly high sulfur dioxide levels. With such exceedingly high air concentration levels, even small increments exacerbate the adverse health effects.

Last week, Murphy Oil had a sulfur dioxide (SO2) release of about 450 pounds, just under the reportable quantity of 500 pounds for SO2. Yet, the community ambient air monitor on nearby Ventura Drive  measured a reading of 54 ppb SO2 hourly average. The actual real time readings are higher than the displayed averages.  In the same time frame, another “air-strike” or spike in SO2 readings occurred further west in Chalmette, along the ExxonMobil refinery corridor where the LDEQ Chalmette Vista air monitor measured 196 ppb SO2 hourly average.


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