Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quality of Life

The Louisiana DEQ recently designated St. Bernard Parish non-attainment for sulfur dioxide health standards.

On a weekly basis residents are forced to deal with the odors emitted from the industrialized plants. It is not unusual for residents to shelter themselves in place and close all outside ventilation or to report being sick from the odors as they drive by these facilities along St. Bernard Highway and Judge Perez Drive. This is not to mention the loss of use of one’s property, the headaches, burning airways and nausea. The air at times is saturated with SO2 (sulfur) and other odors which are hard to describe. There have been incidents where the odors infiltrated homes and it took residents hours to purge. Upholstery, sofas and clothing reek for days.

There is hope as residents ask the new council to address the pollution issues on the grounds of quality of life for its residents. There are records of numerous complaints filed through the decades relating to these businesses. Even the Fire Chief recently filed a complaint pertaining to what he observed emitting from a petroleum coker unit.

In prior years, oily water was discharged into the neighborhood canal, the 20 Arpent Canal, which meanders through neighborhoods before discharging into the nearby estuaries of the Central Wetlands. This still has the potential to occur with rains as little as four inches and it causes many residents to become sick from the petroleum fumes infiltrating their homes. The neighborhood canals have been allowed to be used as an emergency by-pass route for too many years; yet, the Louisiana DEQ does not allow this practice in other parishes.

Another big concern is the LLT property redevelopment plan which will be used as a baseline for changes to the Parish’s Master Land Use Plan. Residents do not want HRQL Commission members (Housing, Redevelopment, and Quality of Life) making decisions based solely on economics; they want someone looking at the overall picture. This picture should include "Quality of Life" for its residents.

We do need jobs but we also need a cleaner environment in St. Bernard. The EDC (Economic Development Commission) recently requested a budget increase to include a lobbyist to help the heavy industries expand in our community. Many believe the monies would be put to better use by funding students to canvas neighborhoods for a health census instead of trying to get more environmental unfriendly businesses here. What good is money if you can't enjoy it because you have to spend it all on health care, incapacitated or deceased from the air one is forced to breathe?

submitted by a concerned resident

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mid February Air Quality

Mid February 2012 St. Bernard Parish Air Quality Report
Data Source:  St. Bernard Parish's three air monitors

 health standards

SO2 - sulfur dioxide 75 ppb  EPA health one hour standard
H2S - hydrogen sulfide 1.4 ppb EPA review recommended daily exposure
        World Health Organization (WHO 1981) advises ambient concentration levels of hydrogen sulfide "should not exceed 5 ppb (or 0.005 ppm), with a 30-minute averaging time.” 
PM - particulate matter 35

Date Time Monitor Hourly Reading                         Particulate Matter

2/1/2012 7am     Ch_Vista 5 ppb H2S

               8am     Ch_Vista 5 ppb H2S                       35

                       Ventura                                               35

                9am Ventura                                               41

2/3/2012 8pm Ventura                                                39

                       Ch_Vista monitor not working

2/4/2012 11am Ch_Vista        71 ppb SO2

               noon Ch_Vista     122 ppb SO2

                1pm Ch_Vista     139 ppb SO2

                2pm Ch_Vista     211 ppb SO2

                3pm Ch_Vista     141 ppb SO2

                   Ch_Vista monitor down for PM10 and Methane

                                                        Particulate Matter PM10

2/6/2012 6pm Ventura                                                 36

2/7/2012 6pm Ventura                                                 47

                7pm Ch_Vista                                              37

                        Ventura                                                61

                8pm Ventura                                                48

2/8/2012 1pm Ch_Vista                                               44

2/9/2012 6am Ch_Vista                                                35

               1pm Ch_Vista                                               36

               2p Ch_Vista                                                  35

2/10/2012 1pm Ch_Vista                                             40

                         Ventura                                               35

2/13/2012 1am Ch_Vista 5 ppb H2S

                         Ventura 5 ppb H2S

                2am Ch_Vista 10 ppb H2S

                         Ventura 11 ppb H2S

                3am Ch_Vista 12 ppb H2S

                        Ventura 10 ppb H2S

               4am Ch_Vista 14 ppb H2S

                       Ventura 12 ppb H2S

              5am Ch_Vista 7 ppb H2S

                      Ventura 6 ppb H2S

             noon Ch_Vista                                                   40

2/14/2012 12am Ch_Vista     82 ppb SO2
                 11pm Ch_Vista      6 ppb  H2S
                     PM10 Monitor down at Ch_Vista

health standards

SO2 - sulfur dioxide        75 ppb hourly average

H2S  - hydrogen sulfide     1.4 ppb recommended daily exposure

PM10 - particulate matter                               35
For more information on St Bernard Parish's three air monitors

Saturday, February 11, 2012

land use plan

greenspace shown in framework  adopted by Council as the Master Land Use plan to apply for Federal and State Funding

This Waggoner and Ball Plan was used as a framework for the Waggoner and Ball LLT Property redevelopment plan, presented in Fall 2011 and proposed for amendment in this week's HRQL meeting

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

sulfur dioxide levels make resident sick

The Ch_Vista Monitor on December 5 2011 recorded extremely high sulfur dioxide levels, well over the EPA health standard of 75 ppb.  On December 5th, Chalmette Vista's hourly averaged sulfur dioxide levels from 9am to noon were 40 ppb, 135 ppb, 256 ppb, 38 ppb and then from 6pm to 7pm the sulfur levels were 239 ppb and 145 ppb.   A Chalmette resident reported the emissions made her sick.

Incident 135699 EDMS document 8267114 Pages 36 and 37.

Yet, the DEQ inspection states both nearby industries, Rain CII Carbon and ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery, were operating within air permit limits (which is mostly likely true AND those permit limits should be lowered).  However, the DEQ inspection does not include information from the plant operating logs to see what units were operating at that time. Were any operations bypassing pollution controls, even if within the permit limits? Were there malfunctions? What part of the processes is causing this?

We cannot solve this public health problem caused by the sulfur dixoide levels in Chalmette until the source is identified.  Sulfur Dioxide levels continue to exceed the health standards, as shown in  Air Quality readings In January 2012 from  St. Bernard Parishes three air monitors .

Rain CII Carbon is a petroleum coke plant located adjacent to the Chalmette Vista neighborhood and in between the National Historical Park at Chalmette (Battle of New Orleans 1814) and ExxonMobil's Chalmette refinery. Rain CII operates on a variance which allows operational bypasses up to 500 hours annually.  Rain CII recently applied for an additonal 350 hours bypass time to accomodate repairs and maintenance.  The additional particulate matter discharges are estimated at 4.64 tons PM10.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

enough is enough

quest for more tank farms?

around the 24:24 minute mark of the Council's February 7th 2012 meeting  available on the SBPG net website Cable Channel

an investment for the future of St. Bernard?

around the 24:24 minute mark.....

another parish got a $350,000 million dollar oil reserve tank farm that will bring close to 300 jobs that pay about $90,000 salary.(well, it doesnot take 300 people to run an oil reserve tank farm and oil reserve tank farms shouldnot be sited in flood zones. the last million gallon oil spill should be enough lessons learned)

EDC asking for $150,000 to $200,000 budget to hire people to go help the oil refineries in St. Bernard Parish expand (as well as help small businesses) but it will take two to three years of a $200,000 budget for EDC.

why should our tax dollars go to help the refineries expand? don't the oil companies have enough resources? aren't the flood plains not the best site location for oil tank reserves?

haven't we had enough?
didn't the oil tanks already expand when a million gallon oil spill put oil in our houses?

didn't residents just prevail in a year's -long objection to a tank farm expansion?Murphy Oil wisely let that tank farm expansion permit expire and the new owners stated in a public meeting that they were not planning on a tank farm expansion.

didn't the DEQ recently write-up the refinery for leaving the state-of-the-art floating roof(s) in lifted position on several tanks for many months?is that what made us sick?
were we not just told benzene emissions would be reduced by nearly 1,800 pounds annually by finally providing adequate covers to the oily waste processing area adjacent to the neighborhood on Judge Perez at Jacob?

promises of good paying jobs?for who? for people who refuse to raise their families here?

doesn't the EDC keep information from residents through their practice of ""Confidential Site Selection"?

not good EDC, not good at all.
posting received from St. Bernard Parish neighbor

Marsh Fire Effect on Air Quality

In January 2012 there was a persisent marsh fire in New Orleans East, just north of St. Bernard Parish.  The three air quality monitors in St. Bernard Parish reported high levels of particulate matter and hydrogen sulfide in January 2012.  Both are assumed to be from the marsh fire.

January 23, 2012 was one of the worse air quality days for particulate matter, PM10.  As an example, PM10 hourly readings around the St. Bernard Parish Chalmette Vista neighborhood generally average around the 20 to 40 range, and tend to peak to near 100 on New Year's Eve due to fireworks.  In January,  the PM10 readings at both the Ch_Vista Monitor and another community air monitor on Ventura Drive measured over 300 due to the marsh fire.
Time      Air Monitor                Particulate Matter PM10

11am Ventura                          46

noon Ventura                           80
          Ch_Vista                        89

1pm Ventura                          166
         Ch_Vista                       212

2pm Ventura                          304
         Ch_Vista                       280

3pm Ventura                          274
          Ch_Vista                      239

4pm Ventura                          251
         Ch_Vista                       214

5pm Ventura                          242
         Ch_Vista                       199

6pm Ventura                          234
         Ch_Vista                       205

7pm Ventura                          224
         Ch_Vista                       202
 8pm Ventura                          162
         Ch_Vista                       132

Valero Refining - Meraux LLC's Ventura Drive Monitor.
    Louisiana DEQ - Ch_Vista Monitor

Full Recap of January 2012 Air Quality Here

Sunday, February 5, 2012

St. Bernard's air quality report January 2012

St. Bernard Parish Air Quality Recap
January 2012

A monthly recap of some of the highest air toxin readings from the air monitors in Chalmette and Meraux.  Full Report Here

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)  EPA one-hour health standard   75 ppb

1/1/2012    SO2   107 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
1/3/2012    SO2     13 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor
1/4/2012    SO2     11 ppb     Meraux Monitor
1/5/2012    SO2     15 ppb     Meraux Monitor
1/6/2012    SO2     27 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor
1/7/2012    SO2     74 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
                  SO2    15 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor
1/11/2012  SO2     40 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor
1/12/2012  SO2    193 ppb    Ch_Vista Monitor
1/13/2012  SO2     20 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor
1/16/2012  SO2   100 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
1/17/2012  SO2   206 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor 
1/19/2012  SO2     97 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
                   SO2   25 ppb      Ventura Drive Monitor
1/20/2012  SO2   178 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
1/22/2012  SO2   160 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
1/22/2012  SO2   235 ppb     Ch_Vista Monitor
1/27/2012  SO2     17 ppb     Ventura Drive Monitor

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)  World Health Organization advisory limit 5ppb.  EPA review infers daily limit 1.4 ppb (or 0.0014 ppm).

1/4/2012    H2S    18 ppb   Meraux Monitor
                 H2S    10 ppb   Ventura Drive Monitor 
1/8/2012    H2S      8 ppb   Ch_Vista Monitor
1/12/2012  H2S    10 ppb   Ch_Vista Monitor
1/16/2012  H2S    10 ppb   Meraux Monitor
                 H2S     7 ppb    Ventura Drive Monitor
1/30/2012  H2S    28 ppb   Meraux Monitor
                 H2S    24 ppb   Ventura Drive Monitor
1/31/2012  H2S    10 ppb   Meraux Monitor
                 H2S   10 ppb    Ventura Drive Monitor

Particulate Matter PM10   Generally limited to 35 ug/m3
Note:  There was a persistent marsh fire just north of the community.See a recap of the high PM10 levels here.

See Full January 2012 Recap Here


Saturday, February 4, 2012

sulfur dioxide exceedance in December 2011

 Rain CII Carbon investigation by DEQ Dec 15, 2011

Dec 15 2011 Fire Chief Stone observed a purple cloud coming from Rain CII Carbon and filed complaint regarding a chemical/acid odor.

DEQ did not detect anything.

Yet, the DEQ Ch_Vista Monitor shows steady increase of sulfur dioxide in late hours of December 15 and into early morning of Dec 16th with a peak SO2 hourly reading of 122 ppb, which is well over the EPA one-hour health standard of 75 ppb for SO2........  

Friday, February 3, 2012

St. Bernard's air quality reports

St. Bernard Parish Air Quality Reports

Highest Air Monitor Readings

A monthly report of some of the highest air quality readings in the ambient air in Chalmette and Meraux, Louisiana.


This report is a recap of some of the higher air quality readings from St. Bernard Parish’s ambient air monitors in Louisiana. Two monitors operated by LDEQ are:  the ‘Ch_Vista’ site at Chalmette Vista’s Bluebird Park northwest of ExxonMobil’s Chalmette refinery and Rain CII Carbon’s coke plant; and, the ‘Meraux’ site at the Joe Davies elementary school, just east of a municipal sewage treatment plant and somewhat northeast of Valero Energy’s oil refinery. The third monitor – ‘Ventura’ – operated by Valero Energy on Ventura Drive in Chalmette, is northwest of Valero’s refinery in Meraux and just southeast of a new elementary school construction site in Chalmette, LaCoste Elementary.  LDEQ’s former area monitors: ‘Entergy’ site in Algiers across the Mississippi River, dismantled after Hurricane Gustav; and, ‘Ch_High’ site at the local high school, discontinued sometime after Hurricane Gustav and LDEQ's 2009 Air Quality Final Report  (a thirty month study of St. Bernard Parish air quality; at that time the sulfur limit was a 24-hour average of 140 ppb SO2 and an annual average of 30 ppb. It is now an hourly average of 75 ppb SO2).  Prior to 2006, there was a monitor on Mehle Avenue in Arabi.   Annual means, percentiles, and other statistical data are asssessible on EPA's EPA's AirData website , left hand column menu, under Monitor Values.

January 2012 Recap on Air Quality

Ambient Air monitors are fixed location monitors which measure certain air toxins.  Fixed air monitor locations are dependent on the wind direction being just right to make direct hit or "air strike" from the source point to the monitor. 

Ch_Vista ambient air monitor at Bluebird Park in Chalmette Vista neighborhood of Chalmette, adjacent to both Rain CII Carbon petroleum coke plant and ExxonMobil's Chalmette Refining. The LDEQ’s Ch_Vista data is accessible at link below or on the LDEQ website's right hand column menu, ON AIR icon, select Site Data, select Ch_Vista, enter date, click Submit.  Note display time changes for Daylight Savings Time. Air toxin results are only available through public records request.

Valero's Ventura Drive community air monitor in Floral Estates neighborhood of Chalmette, situated between Valero's St. Bernard Parish refinery in Meraux  and a new elementary school construction site in Chalmette.  Ventura Drive data is accessible at link below, select Readings, select date, click Apply.  Valero’s Ventura Drive data is recorded using the same sample methods as the LDEQ monitors, however, Valero displays some values in ppm instead of ppb.  Convert parts per million data to parts per billion by multiplying the value by 1,000. (i.e., 0.024 ppm = 24 ppb).    For benzene, and other air toxin sample results, select Documents , click report to view.   Daily exposure limits to these air toxins can be found on EPA's  Integrated Risk Information System website, bottom menu listing "Compare IRIS Values" 

Meraux ambient air monitor at Joe Davies Elementary School playground area in Meraux, just over a mile northeast of the Valero - Meraux Refinery.  The LDEQ’s Meraux data is accessible at link below or on the LDEQ website as described above.  Air toxin results are only available through a public records request.

Health standards and recommended exposure level limits

Sulfur Dioxide - SO2, measured in parts per billion (ppb), the EPA one-hour health standard for SO2 is 75ppb. The LDEQ recently designated St. Bernard Parish non-attainment for sulfur dioxide health standards. LDEQ has also stated that sulfur dioxide levels at 12 ppb SO2 trigger headaches and other adverse quality of life.  We do not have access to the 5-minute and 30-minute peak exposure levels, which also have health limits.

Hydrogen Sulfide – H2S, measured in parts per billion (ppb).  The World Health Organization (WHO 1981) advises ambient concentration levels of hydrogen sulfide "should not exceed 5 ppb (or 0.005 ppm), with a 30-minute averaging time.” We do not have access to the 30-minute averaging time values.  An EPA "technical evaluation concluded that hydrogen sulfide can reasonably be  anticipated to cause chronic health effects in humans"  .  In another toxicological review, EPA infers a daily exposure to H2S withouth risk to be 1.4  ppb (or 0.0014 ppm). {page 52 of EPA report}    According to EPA,  1.4 ppb H2S is the recommended daily exposure limit for H2S   …..  inhaling more than this concentration on a daily basis poses an appreciable risk of deleterious effects. . "Exposure to lower concentrations can result in eye irritation, a sore throat and cough, nausea, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs."  "Long-term, low-level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory, and dizziness."

Particulate pollution (PM2.5) is limited to 35 ug/m3 24-hour average, 99th percentile averaged over three years, and 12 ug/m3 annual mean, averaged over three years (updated 2013).  Particulate pollution (PM10) is limited to 150 ug/m3, 99th percentile averaged over three years.   The Ch-Vista monitor is the only monitor in Louisiana does not display the PM2.5 readings as a 24-hour average.

Ozone is limited to 75 ppb on an 8-hour average, fourth highest reading averaged over three years.

Link to EPA NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

clean air force

Endorse a nonpartisan grassroots group called the Moms Clean Air Force and join the fight against toxic air pollution.  "Clean air should be above politics," Moore said. "The discussion about regulations to protect our air has gotten so polarized that we have forgotten an important thing: We all breathe the same air. And all our children suffer because of pollution. We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We can have both. We can have what's best for all our children."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

hydrogen sulfide exposure

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

Neurophysicological abnormalities have been reported in studies of residents living along the fenceline of crude oil processing plant which exposed residents to hydrogen sulfide at 10 parts per billion.  Other studies show the adverse health effects reported by residents in areas of annual exposure levels of hydrogen sulfide between 7 and 27 ppb. The adverse health effects reported by residents include “central nervous systems, ear/nose/throat, respiratory, muscle/bone, skin, immune, cardiovascular, digestive, teeth/gums, urinary, blood” .

In St. Bernard Parish, the community air monitors have demonstrated exposure to hydrogen sulfide at or above an hourly average of 10 ppb and daily exposures above 1 ppb.  Residents do not have access to the annual exposure levels nor the peak five minute and 30 minute exposure levels which comprise the hourly averages displayed on the monitors.  An EPA toxicological review infers a daily exposure to H2S withouth risk to be 1.4 ppb or 0.0014 ppm. {page 52 of EPA report}.

Some peak hourly readings of Hydrogen Sulfide
1- 16 ppb of H2S on 9/26/2011 and 11 ppb of H2S on 1/04/2012 at LDEQ’s Ch_Vista ambient air monitor, located at Bluebird Park in the Chalmette Vista neighborhood of Chalmette.  This neighborhood is adjacent to ExxonMobil's Chalmette refinery and Rain CII Carbon's petroleum coke plant.

2- 24 ppb of H2S on 1/30/2012 at Valero Refining‘s Meraux plant's community air monitor on Ventura Drive in Chalmette. The Ventura Drive monitor is located in the Floral Estates neighborhood in Chalmette, adjacent to the Valero Meraux plant.

3- 16 ppb of H2S on 2/10/2010 at LDEQ’s Meraux monitor, located at Joe Davies Elementary School playground in Meraux. The Meraux site recorded a spike in H2S on the afternoon of February 10, 2010 during the time of a startup at the former Murphy Oil Meraux refinery. (now owned by Valero).

4- 26 ppb, 20 ppb, 44 ppb, and 33 ppb of H2S on Feb 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th respectively in 2010 at LDEQ's Meraux monitor.  On February 21, 2010 the former Murphy Oil refinery (now owned by Valero) reported it had discovered it was sending elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide to the flares.  {page 20 of report at this link}.  During the same time, the refinery reported permit exceedances for both flares.

5 -   58 ppb of H2S at Chalmette High School.  The LDEQ’s Chal_High community air monitor, formerly located at our only high school, recorded H2S readings as high as 58 ppb.    click here for link to report   The LDEQ dismantled the Chalmette High School monitor site just prior to the 2011 installation of Valero's Ventura Drive site in Chalmette. 

6-  91 ppb of H2S at Lower Algiers school site.  The LDEQ report in the above link also documents another former school site; this one is in Lower Algiers (across the river from the ExxonMobil Chalmette refinery and Rain CII Carbon petroleum coke plant) where the LDEQ monitor recorded H2S readings as high as 91 ppb . This Lower Algiers monitoring station was known as Entergy and was dismantled in 2008 in preparation for Hurricane Gustav.  It was never restored.   Lower Algiers, like St. Bernard Parish, is an under-served, economically disadvantaged  community.  

7-  114 ppb at LDEQ's Ch_Vista site noted in the same report.
The Chalmette Vista ambient air monitoring data is accessible at this link, under site data, select CH_VISTA.

The Meraux ambient air monitoring data is accessible at the above link, under site data, select Meraux.

The Valero Refinery community air monitor commenced in August 2011. The data is accessible at this link for the Ventura Drive monitor in Chalmette, select hourly readings.

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