Author Archives: Alan Muller

About Alan Muller

Executive Director of Green Delaware

“Sunday and Monday are Code Orange bad air days in Delaware.” Plus, the Delaware City Refinery is Belching…..

http://firststateupdate.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/img_5c5722f0ccd5c.jpg

Below is the official wording from the DNREC. 

First, Green Delaware’s take:

Code Orange bad air is unusual in Delaware in wintertime but does happen.  Pollution sources can be as nearby as a neighbor’s wood stove or as far away as a forest fire in Canada or even a dust storm in Mongolia.  Actual ground level concentrations depend greatly on weather conditions.  “Inversions” can hold pollutants down near ground level.

It appears that we are looking at some Code Yellow days following the Code Orange days.

Plus, the timing of a big fire at the Delaware City Refinery is poor.  This sort of event isn’t factored into air pollution forecasts but will increase pollutant levels in New Castle County and also in Salem County, NJ.  In addition to the elevated particle concentrations, the refinery fire, in the “crude unit,” will have released large amounts of nasty sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide.  Many people may experience discomfort or worse in the next few days.

Here is a decent story in The News Journal:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2019/02/04/what-we-know-and-dont-know-delaware-city-refinery-fire/2766224002/

And here is some video footage, from which you can get a sense  of the amounts of smoke. https://www.facebook.com/boulden/videos/10218208519345767/

It appears to us that most Delaware officials are far too servile to the refinery to have anything meaningful to say.

Usually, when there is a fire or explosion or other “upset” in one major unit at the refinery, other operations are also disrupted and begin to belch pollutants.   The crude unit is near the beginning of the processing operations so it is hard to be sure what the downstream impacts are.  We are told the refinery is still operating.  There has been flaring.  We also understand the fire was caused by piping failures, which would usually indicate neglect of maintenance.

Of course, air quality forecasting, like weather forecasting, has greatly improved but remains an inexact business.  Actual conditions can turn out better or worse than forecast.

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Sunday and Monday are Code Orange bad air days in Delaware.

Sunday, February 3, is forecast to be Code Orange for particulate concentrations in Delaware!

 Particle concentrations rose much faster than expected on Saturday morning, due to an extremely strong surface inversion enhanced by Friday’s snowfall. As of 2 PM Saturday, hourly particle concentrations are dropping in response to increasing surface winds and a break in the strong temperature inversion at the surface. Daily average particle concentrations will end up in the upper Moderate for Saturday, however, which is much higher than normal for this time of year. **Sunday’s Forecast: Sunday’s weather conditions are expected to be extremely stagnant. Surface winds will be calm all day. Another very strong morning surface inversion will form, but the difference from Saturday is that this inversion is not forecasted to break in the afternoon. As a result, atmospheric mixing will be minimal for the entire day. Given how quickly particles rose on Saturday, in conjunction with the very stagnant forecast, particle concentrations will reach the Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) range on Sunday.

A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion. Any health related questions should be directed to the Division of Public Health at 302-739-6619. All other questions should be directed to the Division of Air Quality at 302-739-9402.

 Monday, February 4, is forecast to be Code Orange for particulate concentrations in Delaware!

 Monday is an Air Quality Action Day for the State of Delaware for Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) fine particles! The state is in the midst of an uncommon, but not unprecedented, wintertime poor air quality event. High pressure over the Mid-Atlantic region and warm air arriving aloft has promoted high particle concentrations all along the I-95 Corridor over the weekend, including across Delaware. Very stagnant weather conditions will persist on Monday. Surface winds will be calm, and an extremely strong surface inversion will inhibit vertical mixing. Given these factors in conjunction with the increase in local pollutant emissions on Monday due to weekday traffic, a second consecutive day of Code Orange air quality is expected.

**Extended Forecast: A weak cold front will move through the forecast area on Tuesday afternoon. Particle concentrations will drop into the Moderate range in response to breezy northwesterly winds and enhanced vertical mixing in the late afternoon and evening. Tuesday’s cold front will move back northward on Wednesday as a warm front, bringing clouds and a chance for rain in the late afternoon to evening. Moderate particle concentrations will continue.

-This message was brought to you by the Division of Air Quality, DNREC.

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Shame! Delaware Nature Society gives its top “Conservation” award to Governor Jack Markell.

Sucking up to the Devil:  It’s just not Natural ….
Delaware “Nature” Society gives its top “Conservation” award to Governor Jack Markell on April 13, 2016.
See this link for a version of the “Nature” Society press release on it’s annual meeting.
We have seen a number of outraged emails and Facebook posts about this, and rightly so. In fact, though, it is “Natural,” It’s consistent with the mission and purpose of the Delaware “Nature” Society to give an award to a notoriously anti-environmental governor. Continue reading

Code Orange bad air in Delaware happening now.

From the State of Delaware, DNREC:

“Tuesday, December 8th, will be a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Delaware!”

“A Code Orange air quality forecast for particulates is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion.”

More info from the forecasters at Penn State: Continue reading

In shutting down an old blog that never really went anywhere, I found this post.  The details have changed but the general pattern has, if anything, gotten worse:

Friday, October 28, 2005

Beefing about WDEL….

The yak yak has improved a lot on WDEL with Mascitti and Fulcher having daily gigs. But the news operation is another story.

WDEL managers have said–to me, anyway–that “all credible news sources” should receive equal attention. And they say, for example, that Green Delaware is credible in our field.
Continue reading

Edge-Moor, DuPont/Chemours, and the “Dioxin Pile” petition

Representative John Kowalko has stepped up to the plate and is circulating a petition calling for removal of the DuPont/Chemours Dioxin Pile. PLEASE SIGN KOWALKO’S PETITION.

This post is a bit long.  Bear with us…..

The 115 acre site of the DuPont/Chemours Edge-Moor plant, situated on the Delaware River at its confluence with Shellpot Creek, has a long history going back to the 1600s.  (USA today has an interesting history here, though it is not entirely accurate.)

E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co. (“DuPont”) became the sole owner of the site, already making the white pigment titanium (“TlO2”)dioxide, in 1935. Continue reading

Alert 242: 52% of total US dioxin emissions are from Delaware–Up from 38% in 2000

[Note:  Originally published July 2, 2003.  Reposted  Sept 17th, 2015]

Green Delaware Alert #242
(please post/forward)

National Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) for 2001 released

Total TRI chemicals down, dioxin up

52% of total US dioxin emissions are from Delaware–Up from 38% in 2000

DuPont Edge Moor releases 169 pounds of dioxin

DuPont overall releases 70% of the dioxins reported released in the U.S.

Health threats apparently disregarded by State, DuPont

Continue reading

Where Rehoboth’s sewage should go is wrong question

This ran in the Cape Gazette this week:

By Alan Muller | Sep 07, 2015

Elisabeth Stoner’s wonderful poem Aug 31 has motivated me to write more about the Rehoboth ocean outfall debate. In my opinion the discussion has missed the key point, which is simple enough:

If the sewage is treated to “drinking water standards,” and the toxins and nutrients and pharmaceuticals are removed, it doesn’t much matter where it goes: into the ocean, into the canal, or into the groundwater (via spray irrigation or rapid infiltration). Or, right back into public water supplies. Adequately treated, it would not do harm and would provide useful volume. Continue reading

Where the Rehoboth sewage should go is the wrong question

[This was originally published in the Cape Gazette on Sept 3, 2015]

Elisabeth Stoner’s wonderful poem Aug 31, 2015) has motivated me to write (again) about the Rehoboth ocean outfall debate.  In my opinion the discussion has missed the key point, which is simple enough: Continue reading

“Free associating on ocean outfall”

http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/free-associating-on-ocean-outfall/1382230?cid=842707#.VeW8tra23XM.facebook

By Elisabeth Stoner | Aug 31, 2015

1. The Sea I Dream Of
Come, dive with me into the sea I dream of:
clear, translucent, aquamarine. Deeper –
dancing, glancing light brightens sapphire, cerulean. Continue reading

A CODE ORANGE bad air week in Delaware

airnow
Delaware only does notifications for CODE ORANGE days.   Minnesota does notifications at the lower CODE YELLOW level.

Maybe this is because the air in Delaware is CODE Yellow very often, especially in the summer, and state officials don’t want to remind Delawareans of this reality. Continue reading