Air Toxics Monitoring in the Houston-Galveston Area
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Air Toxics Monitoring in the Houston-Galveston Area. David Brymer, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. General Monitoring Information. >140 monitors (not including weather) at >45 fixed air monitoring sites in the Houston-Galveston area >25,000,000 air quality measurements

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Air Toxics Monitoring in the Houston-Galveston Area

David Brymer, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

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General Monitoring Information

  • >140 monitors (not including weather) at >45 fixed air monitoring sites in the Houston-Galveston area

  • >25,000,000 air quality measurements

    This represents almost a third of the fixed site air monitoring done in the State of Texas

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Continuous Monitoring Sites

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Topics of Discussion

  • Who is doing this monitoring?

  • Where are we monitoring Air Toxics?

    • Network Design (why are we monitoring where we are?)

  • What compounds are we monitoring?

  • How are we monitoring Air Toxics?

    • Types of monitoring

    • Technology used/ Sampling frequency

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Who Does this Monitoring?

  • Governmental Agencies

    • EPA

    • TCEQ

    • Local Governments (HCPC, GCHD, etc..)

  • Citizen Groups

  • Industry

    • Consortiums (HRM)

    • Individual facility fenceline and/or on-site monitoring

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Network Design

  • Fixed sites

    • Sited to address a specific monitoring objective

  • Mobile sites

    • Screening or addressing a specific concern/ incident

    • Upwind/downwind

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Fixed Air Toxics Monitoring Sites in the Greater Houston-Galveston Area

EISM Sites

HRM Sites

TCEQ Sites


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Air Toxics Related Projects with Fixed Sites Houston-Galveston Area

  • National Air Toxics Trends Sites (NATTS) – EPA

  • Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) – EPA

  • Community Air Toxics Monitoring Network (CATMN) – State

  • Houston Regional Monitoring Network – Industry

  • Supplemental Environmental Projects/Agreed Order Monitoring – Gov’t/Industry

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CATMN Houston-Galveston Area

  • Legislative directive in 1992

  • Assess community exposure to VOC concentrations

  • Determine potential long-term health effects

  • Data used to assess temporal/spatial variability

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CATMN Site Considerations Houston-Galveston Area

  • Magnitude of pollution emissions within 10 km radius

  • Predominant wind direction/wind rose

  • Population density

  • Traffic patterns

  • Degree of public concern

  • Logistical considerations

    • 40 CFR Part 58, App. D & E

    • Access to the site

  • Available data – mobile monitoring

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Air Toxics Monitoring Sites Houston-Galveston Area

Toxics Monitoring Sites

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Houston/Beaumont CATMN Houston-Galveston Area

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PAMS Monitoring Houston-Galveston Area

  • Monitoring required in non-attainment areas (1990 CAA Section 182[c][1])

  • Enhanced monitoring of ozone, its precursors (VOCs which include some air toxics & NOx) and influencing factors (meteorology and solar radiation)

  • In the Houston area this requirement includes upwind (Galveston), area of anticipated max VOC emissions (Clinton Dr), and downwind (Aldine)

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National Air Toxics Monitoring Strategy Houston-Galveston Area

  • Urban Air Toxics Strategy (UATS) -1999

  • Attain substantial reduction of Non-cancer HAPs

  • Attain 75% reduction of cancer drivers from 1993 levels

  • Monitoring Goals

    • Trends

    • Exposure Assessments (ambient measurements as a surrogate for actual human exposure)

    • Air Quality Model Evaluation

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22 NATTS sites Houston-Galveston Area

  • 15 urban (1 in Tx – Deer Park)

  • 7 rural (1 in Tx – Karnac)

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What Compounds are Being Monitored? Houston-Galveston Area

  • Criteria Pollutants (ozone, particulate, CO, SO2, NO2, and lead)

  • Volatile Organic Compounds

    • 1 to over 150 compounds at a given site

    • Includes HRVOCs and air toxics at most sites

    • Dependent upon monitoring method and project/site objectives

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What are Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)? Houston-Galveston Area

  • Hazardous air pollutants are those pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects or adverse environmental effects, Source: EPA.

  • EPA classified 188 compounds as HAPs in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments

  • The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) study done by EPA in 1990 identified 6 risk drivers of particular interest nationwide.

    • VOCs – benzene, 1,3-butadiene, acrolein, formaldehyde

    • Metals – chromium* and arsenic

  • The 1999 NATA study using 1996 data did not identify 1,3-butadiene and arsenic as national risk drivers

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Sources of Air Toxics Houston-Galveston Area

  • Mobile sources

  • Stationary point sources

  • Indoor sources

  • Area sources such as lawn mowing, heavy machinery, dry cleaners, and printing operations

  • Atmospheric reaction products

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Where are HAPs Monitored in Houston? Houston-Galveston Area

There are 32 TCEQ or industry-funded ambient air toxics monitors in the HGB area (not including SEP & Agreed Order monitoring)

Source: TCEQ

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Houston-Galveston Area HAP Monitors Houston-Galveston Area


TCEQ & EISM sites

HRM sites

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How are We Doing Fixed Site Monitoring? Houston-Galveston Area

  • VOCs (including benzene, 1,3-butadiene)

    • Automated Gas Chromatographs (11sites)

    • Passivated Canisters (24 sites)

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How are we Doing Fixed Site Monitoring? Houston-Galveston Area

  • Carbonyls ( including formaldehyde, acrolein)

    • DNPH cartridge collection and HPLC analysis

    • 3 sites

  • Metals

    • Filter collection

      and ICP analysis

    • 8 sites

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VOC Monitoring Approaches Houston-Galveston Area

  • AutoGC’s

    • Provide hourly measurements

    • Provide sub ppbV detection limits

    • Preliminary data available within 2 hrs

    • Provides data on HRVOCs and air toxics

    • Limited target list (non-polar compounds)

    • Only 1 shot at the analysis

    • Large capital investment

    • Generates approx. 500,000 data points/yr

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VOC Monitoring Approaches Houston-Galveston Area

  • Canisters

    • Can be configured for a wide variety of sample collection times (<1 min to > 1 day). We generally use 24 hr samples collected every 6th day.

    • Can be analyzed for a wide variety of compounds (>100 target compounds).

    • Lower initial and on-going costs.

    • Provide sub ppbV level detection limits with the ability to reanalyze or dilute a sample

    • Samples sent back to a lab for analysis. Results are not available in real-time or near real-time.

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VOC Monitoring with Canisters Houston-Galveston Area

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Event Triggered Can Sampler Houston-Galveston Area

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Mobile Site Monitoring Houston-Galveston Area

  • Mobile Laboratory Monitoring (In Field)

    • TCEQ

  • Screening/Incident Monitoring

    • EPA

    • TCEQ

      • HCPC

      • GCPC

      • Citizen groups

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Mobile Laboratory Capabilities Houston-Galveston Area

  • Volatile Organics

    • Screening with portable GC/MS and other handheld instrumentation (soon to include IR camera)

    • In field analysis using GC/PID/FID

    • Confirmational sampling via canisters and GC/MS analysis

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What is TCEQs Mobile Laboratories Role? Houston-Galveston Area

  • Find contributors to elevated ambient concentrations measured at fixed sites

  • Determine compliance with H2S/SO2/particulate Regulations

  • Respond to ongoing complaints that appear to match monitoring capabilities

  • Collect enforcement quality data

  • Identify/quantify air toxics in specific areas

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When Roles Do TCEQs Mobile Laboratories not Fill? Houston-Galveston Area

  • Emergency response (timing, safety, response time)

  • General odor complaints (don’t do nuisance odor investigations - can analyze for H2S/SO and organics)

  • Source sampling (in most cases)

  • Not great at monitoring intermittent or batch operations

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Screening/Incident Investigation Houston-Galveston Area

  • Agency investigators can use screening tools (IR cameras, TVA, OVA,etc) or collect samples (e.g. canisters) that can be sent to lab for analysis

  • Citizen group screening