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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Air Monitoring Finds Limited Impacts to Air Quality Following Hurricane Laura

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DALLAS – (Sept. 1, 2020) To support the response to Hurricane Laura, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 6 office deployed mobile air monitoring staff and equipment to the Southeast Texas area last weekend. Results from air monitoring and imagery and on-the-ground, handheld monitoring indicate that, overall, hazardous impacts to air quality from Hurricane Laura in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area have been limited. Information and results from these efforts will be posted on as it is reviewed.

Summary of EPA air monitoring around Beaumont/Port Arthur:

  • The Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology, or ASPECT plane, was deployed to conduct screening-level assessments to evaluate undetected or unreported releases of hazardous materials. Results were compared to TCEQ’s short-term Air Monitoring Comparison Values (AMCV). After screening 21 of 28 facilities that TCEQ referred to EPA, ASPECT made two detections, both of isoprene. Only one of these detections, at 1.55 parts per million, exceeded TCEQ’s AMCV of 1.4 parts per million. Both detections were west of Port Arthur.
  • EPA teams working during the day and night using hand-held air monitors assessed conditions in various neighborhoods. Day-shift teams conducted 18 readings in Port Neches, Port Arthur, West Orange and Ridgecrest. Night-shift teams conducted 85 readings in Beaumont, Little Cypress, Forest Heights, Ridgecrest, Mauriceville, and on the northern side of Orange. From these readings, results were reported above the detection limit at two locations for total volatile organic compounds. The detections were temporary and do not seem to indicate a contaminant plume.

EPA continues to support FEMA, state, local, and tribal partners in response to Hurricane Laura. EPA’s Region 6 headquarters office in Dallas is taking action to ensure Superfund sites are secure following the storm, to assist public drinking water systems with rapid assessments, and to seamlessly integrate emergency response activities with Texas, Louisiana, and other federal response agencies. EPA encourages affected communities to continue staying alert for instructions from local authorities.

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