Wilmington Environmental Group Establishes First Community Network to Monitor Local Oil Refinery Air Pollution

  • 02/20/2014
  • Reporters Desk

The Coalition For A Safe Environment will make a presentation and lead a tour of their office online computer monitoring system and to the affected Wilmington “fence-line” neighborhoods, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 26, before visiting the home of the Peleti family, the first family to install an AirBase air quality monitor system at their home.

The Wilmington environmental justice community advocacy organization has launched the area’s first community-based environmental reporting and air quality monitoring that is giving residents of some of California’s most environmentally impacted communities effective, hands-on ways to report, monitor and fight pollution and toxic contamination in their neighborhoods.   Fence-line residents – those just over the fence from large oil refineries – often report breathing difficulty from asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and COPD symptoms along with other health effects from refinery emissions and additional mental distress when there are major accidents.

Community members will be able to use mobile devices and go on-line on the internet to report environmental or public health dangers or public safety violations such as releases of hazardous waste, illegal dumping, bad air, chemical spills, toxic odors and other incidents.  They can monitor follow up to their complaints and sign up to be alerted to contamination or pollution in their communities.

The pilot project is funded by a $10,000 grant from the California Department of Toxic Substance Control and a $20,000 grant from California Environmental Protection Agency.

The Coalition For A Safe Environment is the project sponsor in putting the air quality monitoring system in place. The Coalition for a Safe Environment, a 13 year-old public health and safety community organization is working to build a healthy community by fighting petroleum industry and other industries air pollution, calls it the first community based oil refinery fence-line air quality monitoring network in California.

The Coalition for a Safe Environment is the designer and sponsor of the Los Angeles Community Environmental Enforcement Network, LACEEN, Pilot Project that installed an AirBase Multi-Sensor Air Quality Monitoring System on top of the roof of a family that lives on the other side of the fence from ConocoPhillips Oil Refinery in Wilmington.

Residents who live near major oil refineries live in fear day-to-day never knowing when there may be another fire or explosion and what that impact might be on their families’ health and lives.   Residents are told that oil refineries are doing their best and complying with the law.     But neighbors say that oil refineries always have some type of malfunction, equipment breakdown or power failure all too frequently.

For local residents loud noises and flaring are a normal part of life and occur all hours of the day and night.   Residents often see large flames of fire with hours and hours of threatening black billowing smoke filling the skies and going over their homes.

LACEEN is one of many community solutions to help residents report what they see, file a complaint, file an incident report, can report how they have been impacted, register for emergency alerts and have their complaint investigated.

The Coalition for a Safe Environment plans to install air quality monitoring instruments at every Los Angeles area oil refinery in the future.    LACEEN has two innovative design components:  a fence-line air quality monitoring system and a computer based community complaint form submission program for a variety of environmental complaints.

The LACEEN complaint form program allows members of the public who witness toxic releases of hazardous pollutants from a source such as an oil refinery to file an online complaint or report which will be investigated by a participating governmental regulatory agency.   LACEEN is also designed so the public can file a complaint or report regarding any type of environmental, public health danger or public safety violation such as illegal land dumping, chemical spills, toxic odors, industry noise, illegal truck parking or school bus idling.

Visitors will be able to see how the LACEEN AirBase Air Quality Monitoring System data can be viewed 24/7 on a computer via the internet and how easily resident can file a complaint or incident report on-line, in-person or using their mobile phone device.

Details: www.laceen.org
Venue: Coalition For A Safe Environment
Location: 1601 N. Wilmington Blvd., Ste. B, Wilmington


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