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Oil Spill Air Dispersion Analysis SAMPLE

Oil Spill Air Dispersion Analysis SAMPLE

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Published by David Lincoln
This is a simplified Air Dispersion Model from an Oil Spill about a decade ago. Although computer modeling has advanced greatly, this will provide a minimum standard for any onshore oil spill.
This is a simplified Air Dispersion Model from an Oil Spill about a decade ago. Although computer modeling has advanced greatly, this will provide a minimum standard for any onshore oil spill.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: David Lincoln on Apr 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Exposure AnalysisW Massachusetts
This report is in response to your query about the levels of potentially harmful gaseswhich might have occurred in the area of Western Massachusetts following a tanker truck spill of Fuel Oil # 6 in 2004. As detailed below, the report indicates that the areawas subjected to significant vapor plumes of Hydrogen Sulfide (H
S), Naphthalene andother hydrocarbon compounds contained in Fuel Oil #6.In order to estimate the exposure levels it was necessary to generate a series of plumesor gas cloud plots based on air dispersion models. These models were developed jointlyby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanographicand Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and are frequently used by many emergencypersonnel and first responders. According to the NOAA Office of Response andRestoration, Hazardous Materials and Response Division websitehttp://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/emergency-response-division.html 
“HAZMAT's most widely used computer tool for chemical spill response and 
 planning is the Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations
(CAMEO) system.” 
consists of a suite of software programs to plan for and respond to chemicalemergencies. Cameo is a chemical reference library which contains responseinformation for approximately 6,000 chemicals including 80,000 chemical synonyms andidentification numbers. All of the substances modeled in this report are contained in thisdatabase.The CAMEO suite consists of 
(Aerial Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres) anair dispersion model for simulating gas plumes (or clouds of gas) from chemical releasescenarios.
Mapping Application for Response, PLanning, and OperationalTasks)
integrates the U.S. Census TIGER/Line digital map files which allows plotting of roads, rivers, boundaries, and facilities as part of the CAMEO suite. These threeprograms work interactively and seamlessly together to quickly display criticalinformation and potential hazardous chemical reactions. HAZMAT states:
“The ALOHA atmospheric dispersion module predicts the d 
ownwind dispersion of a chemical cloud. Graphical outputs include estimates of the plume footprint,source strength, and chemical concentration curves. The output from ALOHAcan then be sent to MARPLOT, the mapping module, to display the footprint on adig 
itized map of the local area.” 
 A complete analysis of this specific tanker spill requires a thorough reconstruction of theevents in chronological order. Only in this way can we fully capture the magnitude andextent of the exposure of the substances involved.The time of the accident is stated in the police report as approximately 10:30 AM onOctober ?, 2004). The Response Action Outcome Statement reports that oral notificationof the release of approximately 6000 gals of Fuel Oil #6 was made to the MassachusettsDepartment of Environmental Protection (MADEP) at 11:06 AM by a representative of the Fire Department. Near the time of the accident (10:54 AM), the weather station at the
 Airport located approx, one half mile to the SE of the area reported weather conditionswith temperature 46.9 deg F, Humidity 63% and with winds out of the East at 10.4 milesper hour. Sky conditions were mostly cloudy with precipitation of 0.01inches. Theweather conditions at this time are crucial because when the accident occurred thetanker truck rolled over on its left (drivers) side) and ripped open from its impact with thepaving equipment trailer leaking its contents onto the parking lot and surrounding area.While it is known that tankers carrying Fuel Oil No. 6 contain some percentage of gasessuch as hydrogen sulfide, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other hydrocarbons, the exact contents and components of the fuel spilled will probably never be known with precision because there is no known analysis of this load of fuel. Nor have any subsequent analysis of Fuel Oil No. 6 in this truck been reported either fromthe source station or the intended destination. This complicates any modeling simulation,but it by no means prohibits reliable analysis. Although the actual percentage of H
S may vary in the Fuel Oil No. 6 liquid, [thematerials safety data sheets (MSDS) prepared by the manufacturers and distributors lista range of concentrations from trace to 1.5 percent], the percentage of H
S in the air could still be significant. According to the Hess MSDS:
“Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) may be present in trace quantities (by 
weight), but may accumulate to toxic concentrations such as in tank headspace. The presence of H2S is highly variable, unpredictable and does not correlate with sulfur content.Studies with similar products have shown that 1 ppm H2S by weight in liquid may 
 produce 100 ppm or more H2S in the vapor headspace of the storage tank.” 
This conclusion is supported by an article which appeared in the American IndustrialHygiene Association Journal (Slack, Donald J. 1998 vol. 49 no. 4 pg 205-206). Slack
studied “Hydrogen Sulfide in Residual Fuel Oil and Storage Tank Vapor Space” and
concluded liquid phase hydrogen sulfide concentrations above 8 ppm by weight canproduce atmospheres immediately dangerous to life or health in residual fuel oil storagetanks and ship and barge holds. His research showed the highest concentrations on day1 after a product transfer showing more than 900 ppm H
S (by volume) in the vapor phase related to nearly 11 ppm (by weight) in the liquid phase.It is therefore reasonable that H
S in the head space of the tanker truck would havebeen at a concentration to be dangerous to life or health at the time the tanker waspierced. Furthermore, since the density of H
S is heavier than air [as virtually everyfireman and first responder is taught in training,] any H
S which escaped from the tanker truck would have remained close to the ground. However, it may not have been obviousby smell. The Hess MSDS states:
“Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has a rotten egg “sulfurous” odor. This odor should not 
be used as a warning property of toxic levels because H2S can overwhelm and deaden the sense of smell. Also, the odor of H2S in heavy oils can easily bemasked by the petroleum-like odor of the oil. Therefore, the smell of H2S should not be used as an indicator of a hazardous condition - a H2S meter or colorimetric indicating tubes are typically used to determine the concentration of 
 As mentioned previously, the tanker overturned on its left side and was torn open onwhat was (before the accident) the left top of the tank (Source Point) now lying close to
the ground. This tear was then directly facing the back door of the structure (the ThreatPoint) as gases and fuel oil escaped at a distance of approximately 15 feet across thegravel parking lot. While there is no assertion that anyone was inside the building at theprecise time of the collision, there would have been ample opportunity for any escapingH
S gas to seep under the doors and through any openings available in the momentsafter the collision. This would have raised the levels of H
S in the building to potentiallydangerous levels which could have persisted for days especially in corners and low lyingor protected areas in the back of the kitchen.To calculate this exposure it is necessary to input the initial weight and concentrations of H
S (given the estimated dimensions of the tanker and headspace volume) and thenmodel the air dispersion as a result of the weather conditions at the time.Table I shows the input data for the ALOHA Model and summarizes the concentrationdata for hydrogen sulfide. Note that weather conditions are as previously reported andthe source strength is conservatively estimated as 30 cu ft of gas. This represents lessthan 5% of the tank volume if it were entirely filled with gas instead of the 6000 gallons of fuel oil. The ALOHA model estimates an initial outdoor maximum concentration of 3470ppm at the Threat Point 15 feet to the west and 5 feet to the north of the leaking tanktruck. At this distance, the model predicts a maximum indoor concentration of nearly 40ppm. In addition, the heavy gas model calculates three different threat zones based onthe following criteria:
The Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs) were developed as planning guidelines, to anticipate human adverse health effects caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.
ERPGs are public exposure guidelines: they are intended to predict how members of the general public could be affected if exposed to a particular hazardous chemical. Typically, public guidelines are used for tasks like toxic gasdispersion modeling and other kinds of consequence analysis, when the goal isto assess the severity of a hazard to the general public. Like AEGLs and TEELs,ERPGs do not incorporate safety margins. Also, hypersensitive people would suffer adverse reactions to concentrations far below those suggested in theguidelines.ERPG-3 is "the maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing life-threatening health effects." ERPG-2 is "the maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or symptoms which could impair an individual's ability to take protective action." ERPG-1 is "the maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to 1 hour without experiencing other than mild transient health effects or perceiving a clearly defined,objectionable odor."  http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/erpgs 

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