6/26/15 RSOE reports in Waco TX that 14 workers were taken to a hospital upon being exposed to residue of hydrogen cyanide from an oil field tank that was being dismantled at a recycling plant. This on the heels of an intentional attack on an American gas plant in France as a terrorist target makes for all our fossil fuel numerous oil & gas infrastructures near people as yet another risk of Urban Drilling…lovely.
“Fourteen workers were taken to local hospitals as a precaution as firefighters and a hazmat crew worked Thursday to contain and extinguish a fire that was burning inside a storage tank at a recycling center containing the residue of a toxic chemical. The fire appeared to be out late Thursday morning. “The business has been evacuated and Waco Fire is monitoring the air quality around the neighborhood. Air quality outside the immediate business area has been determined to be safe. There is not an immediate danger to the surrounding homes or businesses,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said late Thursday morning. Firefighters were sent at around 9 a.m. to the CMC Recycling Company, on East League Street, after a crew there reported a fire inside a steel tank they were cutting into scrap, Swanton said. The tank, similar to one farmers use to spread anhydrous ammonia, had been scrapped from an oil field and was being dismantled, Swanton said. Workers began cutting the tank Wednesday afternoon and noticed some residue inside the tank caught fire and began smoking. The workers left the tank over-night and when they started cutting it with torches again Thursday morning, another fire started. The workers were concerned about the smoke and fumes so they called the fire department, which dispatched a hazmat team, and learned the residue inside the tank was from hydrogen cyanide. The business was evacuated, but the fire didn’t threaten the surrounding area, authorities said. Crews were on scene Thursday morning trying to determine the best way to extinguish the fire without damaging the environment, Swanton said. The area is safe and while residents may smell a strange odor, the fumes are dissipated and in small enough quantities that there is no danger, Swanton said. Hydrogen cyanide is a systemic chemical asphyxiant that in significant quantities interferes with the normal use of oxygen by nearly every organ of the body, according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control website. Exposure to hydrogen cyanide can be rapidly fatal, the website says. It has whole-body (systemic) effects, particularly affecting those organ systems most sensitive to low oxygen levels: the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the pulmonary system. Hydrogen cyanide also is a chemical warfare agent.”
The (failed) $1 million dollar air study that Ft Worth did years ago* (read my 2011 response to TCEQ of the Ft Worth Air Study below) found a toxic aldehyde that could be used as a biocide, acrolein, in exceedance amounts. The executive summary read…. “For the relatively few sites with multiple, large line compressor engines, the modeling analysis found some areas beyond Fort Worth Natural Gas Air Quality Study Final Report July 13, 2011 xiv the setbacks to have estimated acrolein and formaldehyde concentrations greater than protective health-based screening levels published by TCEQ…”
Ever try to blow up a wind mill or solar panel?
* 7/14/2011 TCEQ SIP public hearing 10 am first two speakers….Ed Ireland presented this morning that the Phase 2 emissions equipment inventory shows that TCEQ has overstated the projected VOC emissions 5 times more than what the seven leaders of drilling in the Barnett Shale say they emit, that DFW traffic emissions are 6 times more than the almost 11,000 Barnett Shale wells emit in the 9 county area. I (Kim Feil being the second speaker) questioned him that this equipment inventory does not account for what the Permit By Rule application also does not require them to report which is emissions from start up (site set up, truck traffic, drilling, fracking and flow back), maintenance (blowdowns for compressor stations), and shut down emissions. Once the wells are in production, then it’s up to the infrared cameras to detect the invisible hydrocarbons. And so counting inventory equipment emissions is understating (currently unregulated or grandfathered in), real emissions to mothers and breathers.
In attacking ozone should TCEQ go after VOC’s or NOX? North Central Texas Council of Governments Air Quality Steering Committee brought in Dr David Allen from Univ of TX who explained that the (MIR) Maximum Incremental Reactivity scale for ozone from methane is low at .014 compared to xylene at 9.75. In 2007 Toxic risk dot com reported that the GM plant, which is just a mile from here, spewed 85 tons of xylene. TCEQ would do well to limit the xylene at the GM plant, the gas wells at the GM plant, and the numerous gas factories in this nonattainment area.
A new study released Monday from the Global Community Monitor, found 22 toxic chemicals, including four known carcinogens, in air sampled in Colorado and New Mexico near natural-gas production facilities. Acrylonitrile, (used in fracking formulas) was detected in five samples at 3 to 15 times above the EPA long term limit. One family from Garfield County in Colorado that lived about a half-mile from six natural gas rigs had to flee their home after developing rashes and nose bleeds.
Acrylonitrile flow back is highly flammable and toxic. It undergoes explosive polymerization. Haliburton has patents for this chemical to coat the fracking sand. The MSDS says to avoid heat but fracking at these depths cannot escape the intense heat. If you burn this at the evaporization test pilot site at the Arc Park Ft Worth Compressor Station, the burning of this material releases fumes of hydrogen cyanide and oxides of nitrogen (NOX) . The EPA says Acrylonitrile can contribute to the formation of photochemical smog when it reacts with other volatile substances in the air.
Peak summer emissions from Barnett Shale oil and condensate tanks VOC’s increase 375%, methane and carbon dioxide increase at least 250%, and the HAP’s increase almost 1,800%. In the preliminary Ft Worth air study, xylene isomers had the highest HAP’s. Not only is Xylene a HAP, it is an extremely reactive VOC.
So whether you look for your biggest bang in reducing ozone by reducing NOX like acrylonitrile verses VOC’s with high MIR’s like xylene, you cannot control mother nature’s peak summer temperatures, but you can control the exponential emissions by mandating vapor recovery systems.
If I’m not able to speak tonight, I am sending written public comment asking for TCEQ to include in their air testing… formaldehye, carbon disulfide, glycol (glycol ethers) and acrylonitrile. I will also remind them of the public risk in faulty Effect Screening Levels due to a recent finding of mice being fed an “ EPA safe” dose of bisphenol and the result being a generation of male, obese, feminine, unhealthy-endocrine disrupted mice. Drilling for natural gas near humans makes us like mice in a lab. I have coined the MICE acronym phrase to stand for “Multiple Inputs Cumulative Effects” for which there is no state or federal regulation.