Delaware City group testing air quality near refinery

    Residents of Delaware City are hoping a new monitoring effort will give them a better sense of what effect the nearby refinery has on their air.

    Air monitors set up this week in three residential areas near the Delaware City Refinery will test for dust, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and ammonia.

    Sarah Bucic, of the Delaware City Environmental Coalition, said they will compare the results with air samples taken last year when the refinery was temporarily closed.

    “I think it would be absolutely wonderful if we found nothing,” Bucic said. “What I think we will find is that there probably will be some effect of the refinery. I think it would be rather hard to have such a large facility to have no impact.”

    The refinery released tens of thousands of pounds of sulfur dioxide in mid-February, and Bucic said though it runs cleaner than it historically has, there are also occasional flare-ups.

    The refinery supports the testing and financed last year’s baseline study.

    Delaware City resident Russell McKade hopes the testing can determine what causes the strange odors he sometimes smells.

    “I think it’s a good thing, because we get to know what is going on with the refinery as far as the effect it might have on the environment of the people here,” McKade said.

    Results are expected by May.

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