AUSTIN/PORT ARTHUR - From TCEQ
After a steady decline in chemical concentrations, support from area industries, and extensive public comment, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has formally removed Port Arthur and Lynchburg Ferry from the Air Pollutant Watch List.
Air monitors at the Port Arthur City Service Center, initially installed in 1997, have shown annual average benzene concentrations below 1.4 parts per billion (ppb) for five consecutive years. Monitors located near the Houston Ship Channel, initially installed in 2003, have shown that the number of individual hours with an ambient styrene concentration above 25 ppb has decreased significantly since 2005 at Lynchburg Ferry.
"Removing both of these areas from the watch list is an excellent example of how seriously the TCEQ takes air quality," said TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., P.E. "Through industry efforts to reduce pollutants, coupled with our extensive monitoring, Port Arthur and the Lynchburg Ferry area have shown incredible improvements, and the Texas coast has cleaner air."
Monitoring data show that ambient concentrations are no longer of potential concern to require the areas to be included on the APWL; however, the TCEQ will continue to conduct monitoring at both locations to ensure that chemical concentrations remain low.
On Oct. 8, 2013, the agency held a formal public meeting to receive comment on the Port Arthur delisting, and held a similar meeting on Aug, 19, 2013, on the Lynchburg Ferry proposal. For those unable to attend, public comment was also accepted by mail and e-mail. A summary of the comments, and the agency's response, is available for review on the APWL Web page.