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Chalmette Refinery

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Air Monitoring Results

Air Quality Alert
High Levels of SO2 Found


On April 28, 2005 at 12 Carroll Drive, high levels of sulfur dioxide, SO2, were detected. 555 of the 1291 air quality readings covering 24 hours found detectable levels of SO2 in the air. The average concentration of SO2 found in the air, 144.59 parts per billion by volume (ppbv), was above the EPA 24-hour standard of 140 ppbv. From (6:00/4.28.05) to (6:00/4.29.05) the SO2 concentration level remained above the EPA 24-hour screening level 43% of the time. 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 24-hour period was over 32 times higher than the Minimum Risk Level.

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

SO2 comparison
percentage of time above EPA level

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 SO2***

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