Chalmette residents go high tech to monitor Exxon’s emissions: State of the art system gives immediate readings of pollutants in the air

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Demonstrations of the System Monday, 10 AM – 12 PM

WHAT: For the first time ever, high technology air monitoring equipment is being introduced in Chalmette, Louisiana. St. Bernard Citizens for Environmental Quality are introducing the UVSentry Open Path Monitor, a device that can give immediate readings of pollutants in the air, including sulfurs that are emitted by the refinery and volatile organic compounds, including known carcinogens. CEREX, the company that designed the system, specifically crafted the UV Sentry system to provide real time, legally defensible data.  

WHY:    Air sampling is an important mechanism for understanding the health effects to the community from refinery operations, especially after a chemical release. St. Bernard Parish has the highest cancer rate in the state, and residents complain of respiratory problems.

Exxon Mobil’s Chalmette Refining claims that all is safe after their releases. However, residents are growing increasingly alarmed by their own air samples taken by the local bucket brigade. ExxonMobil has failed to provide the results of its air samples or even the methodology of the sampling to the community. 

WHERE:     12 Carroll Drive, Chalmette, LA

WHEN:    10 AM – 12 PM  Monday, December 8, 2003    

More information: The UVSentry system is set up in minutes by connecting the air monitor to the USB port on a computer.  The operator then controls the system by using a specially designed EXCEL spreadsheet program.  

The quality assurance is very simple and accurate.  The system uses a traceable calibration procedure where the user inserts a very small sample cell containing a known quantity of gas into the beam.  The software then quantifies the gas and produces a report. 

From a regulatory perspective the systems are providing the EPA with a valuable enforcement tool.   An air quality district in Florida is using the system to map all of the pollutants in the county.  This is part of a very high profile monitoring project that is under incredible legal scrutiny.  

In addition, the EPA has already commissioned other work related to this type of monitoring.   In addition, the states of Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Texas and Ohio; EPA Regions 4, 5, 7 and 9; and two groups within the EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards have all requested information and demonstrations of our the system.

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