The Need for Fenceline Monitoring
Whether oil refinery or heavy manufacturing plant, many of our nation’s industrial facilities are familiar with the benefits of air monitoring. These data-driven processes allow operators to effectively track, manage, and mitigate potential emission sources, as needed. But what about fenceline monitoring? In the overview below, Heath Cobb, Director with our Toxicology Emergency Response Program team, explains how these perimeter measurements help protect worker health, community safety, and business continuity:
First, what is fenceline monitoring?
Fenceline monitoring typically occurs when a refinery, chemical manufacturer, or processing plant monitors the air quality of its facility from its fenceline and beyond during a planned or unanticipated chemical release. It could also be related to a power outage and restart of the unit, an equipment malfunction, or an observed issue or inefficiency in its processes. If a release event occurs, the responsible party, as well as its industrial neighbors, will employ third-party experts for fenceline monitoring support.
When brought in as a third party, we measure the air at normal breathing height, focusing on the air monitoring on the surrounding fenceline and in the nearby community. We also monitor the wind direction to determine if it is migrating into the community and any impact it might have on nearby neighborhoods, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
What equipment does CTEH generally use to conduct fenceline monitoring?
We utilize a variety of devices including stationery and handheld air monitoring devices, handheld chemical-specific tubes with pumps, and analytical canisters. Most of these devices supply real-time information as to the presence or absence of monitored chemicals and can transmit the data back to a central computer.
What are the operational benefits of fenceline monitoring?
Fenceline monitoring information allows the responsible party to know the efficiency of its flaring operations, chemical release efforts, and any offsite impacts that may occur.
How does CTEH help organizations develop and implement fenceline monitoring plans and what sets CTEH apart?
Although most chemical facilities have their own fenceline monitoring systems, third-party data is often needed, and our experts are brought in to assist and provide real-time information to either stop or adjust current processes. In the event the nearby community is impacted, CTEH also offers toxicology support to allow for transparency of operational processes while keeping surrounding stakeholders apprised of potential impacts. This approach puts safety at the forefront while keeping operations moving smoothly.