The Environmental Protection Agency reported high levels of sulfur dioxide in Saint Bernard Parish. EPA declared that this location is the only one in the Louisiana that does not meet the pollution standards.
Earlier this year, the agency considered DeStoto Parish to be non-compliant regarding the sulfur dioxide levels. However, computer simulations made with local measurements proved that the Dolet Hills Power Station respected the environmental recommendations.
The Environmental Quality Department installed monitoring devices in several locations in Louisiana. Based on these measurements, EPA is preparing to set tougher pollution standards.
St. Bernard had already been listed before as non-compliant to pollution targets. The local industrial facilities have two more years left to implement pollution reduction measures in order to reach the governmental standards.
Several environmental groups expressed their disappointment regarding the sulfur dioxide emission management. They are not happy with EPA’s decision to go back to the initial assessment and tolerate facilities that are clearly producing dangerous pollution.
The environmentalists want EPA to make electric companies accountable for the high level of pollution. Two of these facilities belong to American Electric Power and Cleco Power.
EPA warns that sulfur dioxide can determine breathing issues, especially to people who had pre-existing medical conditions, children, and elderly individuals.
The sulfur dioxide combines with other compounds and forms particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, provoking bronchitis and emphysema. These sulfur particles can lead to an increase in the number of hospital admissions and premature death.
High concentration of the chemical substance in the air can damage trees and plants, which may show signs of foliage and reduce their growth rate. The compound can also contribute to acid rain.
Air pollution can also induce a decrease in visibility as the particles can associate with other compounds. They create dense air zones that obscure wilderness areas and even parts of national parks.
Another effect is the deposition on statues and monuments, producing stains and material damage.
EPA set the first standard for sulfur dioxide emissions in 1971 and decided to establish the limit at 140 parts per billion. The annual standard was set to 30 parts per billion. This is intended to protect the population. The average hourly level is of 500 parts per billion. This standard aims at protecting public welfare.
The sulfur dioxide is one of the six criteria pollutants included in The Clean Air Act. The other indicators being the ground-level Ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, and nitrogen dioxide.
The Agency recommends states to implement air quality monitoring and modeling and to create emission inventories based on which to draft emission control strategies.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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