Simulating Ambient SO2 Dispersion Patterns and Assessing their Health Risk in a Gas Refinery
Azam Minabi1, Farideh Atabi1, Faramarz Moattar1, Mohammad Javad Jafari2
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1Department of Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Environment and Energy,
Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science,
Tehran, Iran
Submission date: 2017-05-24
Final revision date: 2017-07-30
Acceptance date: 2017-07-31
Online publication date: 2018-02-05
Publication date: 2018-03-12
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2018;27(3):1197–1206
The goal of this study was to investigate the ambient concentrations and dispersion patterns of SO2 originating from a gas refinery located in Asaluyeh, Iran, to determine the refinery’s contribution in emitting SO2 in the region and also to assess SO2-associated health risks in the study area. First, SO2 emissions from the stacks and ambient SO2 concentrations at 10 receptors in and around the refinery were measured from summer 2014 to spring 2015 using a Testo 350XL analyzer and a portable device (LSI-Lastem Babuc A). The amounts of SO2 concentrations due to flaring were also calculated using the emission factors. Then ambient concentrations and dispersion patterns of SO2 in the study area at 1-hr, 24-hr, and annual mean values were simulated on a scale of 10×10 km2, using an AERMOD model. Moreover, a non-carcinogenic risk assessment was performed using a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency procedure. The results indicated that about 64% of ambient SO2 concentrations were due to this refinery and the remaining concentrations were due to contributions from neighboring sources. The values of maximum simulated ambient SO2 concentrations at average periods of 1-hr, 24-hr, and annual for the scale of 10×10 km2 were 24,588, 1,366.1, and 498 μg/m3, respectively, which were higher than the U.S. EPA standard limits. There was also a potential health risk for short-term exposure (HQ = 1.4), but in long-term exposure an acceptable level of concentration (HQ = 0.28) was created.