Delaware City air monitoring shows alarming results
Our environmental justice partner, the Delaware City Environmental Coalition has completed an Independent Air Monitoring Project to assess changes in air quality before and after the 2011 Delaware City Refinery restart. Through a contract with Batta Environmental Associates, Inc. of Newark, Delaware, air was monitored for the following:
• Particulates, airborne dust particles of 10 micrometers or less (PM10);
• Particulates airborne dust particles less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5);
• Sulfur Oxides (SOx);
• Ammonia (NH3); and
• Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs);
Phase 1 of the project, which sampled air quality before the refinery restart, collected data for 14 days between March 14, 2011 and April 4, 2011. This phase was funded by the Delaware City Refining Company.
Phase 2 of the project, which sampled air quality after the refinery was up and running in full operation, collected data for 14 days between March 14, 2012 and March 27, 2012. This phase was funded by the Community Environmental Project Funds from DNREC.
Results show alarming levels of volatile organic compounds, including benzene, xylenes and naphthalene, that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's reference concentrations for human health. Benzene levels exceeded all three EPA thresholds for Specified Risk Levels for Cancer following the restart of the refinery, though levels were safe when the refinery was shut down. This air monitoring study raises important questions about the relationship between the Delaware City Refinery and health in adjacent communities.