TCEQ says sulfur dioxide levels no longer elevated in Beaumont

TCEQ says sulfur dioxide levels no longer elevated in Beaumont

This week the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced that sulfur dioxide emissions are lower, according to data from the downtown Beaumont monitoring station, and now meet regulatory standards.

Sulfur dioxide emissions in Beaumont are now down by 76 percent, lowering from 3,454 tons per year in 2005 to 828 tons per year in 2014, according to the report.

The report, released Monday, Sept. 12, explained that sulfur dioxide is now off the TCEQ’s Air Pollutant Watch List. According to the statement, this list “addresses areas in Texas where monitoring data show persistent, elevated concentrations of air toxics,” prompting TCEQ to work with local industries to both lower current levels and prevent more emissions.

Hydrogen sulfide emissions were removed from the watch list in 2009, and benzene came off the list in 2010. All three pollutants had been at elevated levels since the early 2000s.

The monitoring site in Beaumont is at Carrol Street Park, near Martin Luther King Parkway and southeast of College Street. There are additional sites in Port Arthur and Port Neches, as well.

Sulfur dioxide levels at the Beaumont site were above the 30-minute standard on two days in 2002, one day in 2006, and one day in 2007, according to TCEQ. TCEQ also reported high readings on two days in 2009 and one day in 2011.

TCEQ believes that local industry has made “significant changes” to limit the output of SO2. Sulfur dioxide has not exceeded the 30-minute standard since 2012.