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Chalmette Refinery

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Air Monitoring Results

Air Quality Alert
High Levels of SO2 Found


On May 9, 2005 at 12 Carroll Drive, high levels of sulfur dioxide, SO2, were detected. 229 of the 318 air quality readings covering 5.5 hours found detectable levels of SO2 in the air. The average concentration of SO2 found in the air was 122.79 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Minimum Risk Level (the level at or below which that substance is unlikely to pose a measurable risk of harmful (adverse), noncancerous effects) for SO2 is 4.5 ppbv. Thus the average reading during this 5.5 hour period was over 27 times higher than the Minimum Risk Level. From 4:45AM to 10:15 AM the SO2 concentration level remained above the Minimum Risk Level 72% of the time.

Prevailing Wind: From the South-Southeast (SSE), which is from the direction of Chalmette Refining.

comparison SO2
percentage of time over EPA

Sulfur dioxide attacks the respiratory system and triggers asthma attacks. Immediate effects of SO2 include sneezing, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness. Prolonged exposure to SO2 can cause respiratory infections and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Exposure to SO2 is more serious for children.

From January 1, 2004 through April 26, 2005 the National Response Center recorded 27 unplanned release incidents at Chalmette Refining involving SO2.

***Bucket samples do not pick up 2***

© Chalmette Air Monitoring Project (CHAMP)
Copyright 2005-2006