4 The record articles

Coming Summer 2019: Benzene Fenceline Monitoring Data Available to the Public

Posted: July 27th, 2016

Authors: Amanda E. 

A few weeks ago, U.S. EPA hosted a webinar to discuss the data management system for the Refinery Sector Rule – Benzene Fenceline Monitoring (BFM) Rules.  As part of this system, U.S. EPA will be posting all of the BFM data submitted through the Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface (CEDRI) by refineries so that the public can easily view, download, and visualize the data.  U.S. EPA presented their plans for the website, but also asked for feedback, questions, and concerns.  If you’re an owner or operator of a refinery, then you will want to know what information will be available to the public and how it will be displayed.

Each refinery is required to upload BFM data to CEDRI within 45 days after the end of each reporting period.  Then, state officials and U.S. EPA will have 30 days to review the data submitted.  Within 30 days after the Administrator’s review, the BFM data will be published to the website, accessible to the public.  The first set of data is planned to go live in summer 2019!  Remember, the first 12-month average BFM data will be submitted in spring 2019, 12 months after the monitoring start date of January 30, 2018.

U.S. EPA is currently working on the CEDRI module for uploading BFM data into the online system.  The proposed report will include a place to input the location of each monitor, the sampling period, and designate if it was below the detection level (BDL).  There will also be options to mark the samplers as outliers or background monitors.  Alternatively, the information can be uploaded via spreadsheet into the CEDRI system.

U.S. EPA has drafted a BFM website, designed for public outreach.  The website is proposed to be divided into four informative sections:

  1. Refinery information will be included to explain the basics of refineries and how they are regulated.
  2. Health information will discuss the health effects of benzene.
  3. Community data will be available to understand the environmental impacts in your community.
  4. Accessing data will allow users to view and download the BFM data.

The data access section is proposed to be presented in a “story map” format.  The idea consists of a display of a map of the U.S., with markers at each refinery location.  Users would be able to zoom into the states and specific refineries to look at the BFM data.  Once zoomed in on a refinery, users can review data at each monitor, which could be displayed as dots at various sizes based on their reported BFM average concentration (i.e., larger dot symbolizes a higher concentration).  The monitor information could include a list of deviations reported and a chart showing the trend of 12-month averages at that location.

U.S. EPA requested input by July 31, 2016, on the following questions, but is open to other input as well:

  • What information needs to be included on a web page to understand the information?
  • What information and data on benzene do you want to see on the web page?
  • What other information would be helpful?
  • Is there other training or support that might be helpful?

Want help developing comments to submit to U.S. EPA?  Want to discuss the impacts this could have on your refinery?  Want to know more details about the CEDRI system?  Or simply need a refresher on the BFM rule and the new requirements?  Reach out to myself (aessner@all4inc.com, 610-933-5246 x129), or one of the following people at ALL4, and we’d be happy to help!

Meghan Barber, mbarber@all4inc.com (610-933-5246 x130) Refinery Focus Area Lead
Nick Leone, nleone@all4inc.com (610-933-5246 x121) Benzene Fenceline Monitoring Lead
Kayla Turney, kturney@all4inc.com (610-933-5246 x143) CEDRI Lead
Kristin Gordon, kgordon@all4inc.com (281-937-7553 x301) Houston Office Director


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