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Update: ExxonMobil Torrance blast

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Dust released during an explosion at the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery shows no serious levels of dangerous materials, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Tests were carried out on material that fell on cars and the ground after the blast on 18 February. The samples contained fibreglass, aluminium, silicon and lower levels of other metals; however, there was no arsenic and only traces of toxic hexavalent chromium.

The SCAQMD issued the following response to the incident:

“SCAQMD compliance and monitoring staff responded to reports of an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery on Wednesday morning, 18 February 2015. SCAQMD monitoring staff arrived on scene with monitoring instrumentation within an hour and a half of the incident, however, measurements did not proceed immediately upon arrival due to safety precautions related to reports about the potential release of radioactive materials at the scene. When confirmed that the radiation concern was indeed unfounded shortly before noon, near real time monitoring around the refinery began immediately for hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM), and sulphur compounds. In addition, canister and fallout samples were collected and analysed for metals, hexavalent chromium (CrVI), and asbestos.

“Overall findings of the near real time measurements indicated that hydrocarbons, PM, and sulphur compound levels were consistent with level that are typically seen in outdoor air. Bulk samples of fallout found on automobiles and at Mansel Avenue and Delthorne Park contained metals consistent with those used in the refinery’s FCCU catalyst and as collected by ESP. No asbestos was found in the fallout samples, however those samples did contain fibreglass and glass wool. Fallout samples contained less than 60 parts per billion CrVI, which is over 250 times below the California state (OEHHA) Residential Soil Screening level.”

Read the SCAQMD Response and Sampling & Analysis Efforts report in full here.

Edited from various sources by Rosalie Starling

Sources: SCAQMD, ABC7, OrovilleMR

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