Tuesday, October 25, 2016

elevated sulfur dioxide levels in neighborhood --- 4,000 ppb SO2

In late August 2016, a  sulfur recovery plant unit tripped, caused interruption to electrical power, and elevated sulfur dioxide levels for 21 hours.

Sulfur dioxide levels measured downwind in the neighborhood were reported to be 4 parts per million [ppm] on Despaux Drive, which is FOUR THOUSAND parts per billion [ppb].  Average readings were reported at less than 0.5 ppm [500 ppb], however, there is no public access to the data which comprised those averages or how the averages were calculated.

LDEQ document 10368357 dated Sept 2nd 2016 recently posted to EDMS.  As of Oct 18 2016 this document was still NOT AVAILABLE either in EDMS or through a public records request dated Sept 24 2016.

There was no notification or alerts made to the community. It is unclear if the future fence line monitoring data will be available in real time to the public, or if the public will continue to have to wait weeks for information.  A Sept 24 2016 public records request thru LDEQ for a copy the incident report was still not available by mid-October.  The report posted sometime later in October to LDEQ EDMS, although it is dated September 2, 2016.

This type of public health issue is the reason residents previously requested public access to real time data, real time notification of incidents at the plants, and allowing the public to attend the plant's CAP meetings.  These same concerns were voiced three years ago about another incident. It was on October 25 2013 when residents were told there were no issues, yet the plant report indicates worker's were monitored for exposure to benzene and the offsite benzene was reportedly detected at 0.015 ppm or 15 ppb. http://concernedcitizensaroundmurphy.blogspot.com/2013/11/benzene-exposure.html 

Local officials who are interested in sustainable solutions to St Bernard's air quality and public health issues should demand no less.  At the very least, they should obtain the actual readings taken during this August 2016 event.

LDEQ should review its public records procedures and not allow "inspectors" to hold information.

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