Be Informed – Benicia’s Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP)
If you’re curious, confused and/or concerned about the myriad kinds of pollution we breathe from local and regional sources and how mixes of such pollutants affect human health, Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program [“BCAMP”], our local non-profit, is proud to be hosting an online public forum, “Air Quality, Monitoring & Human Health Risks” on Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m., everyone welcome, via zoom*(see below).
Forum panelists will address basic questions about the “toxic soup” typical of urban air, the current limitations and promises of regulations meant to improve air quality, and why air monitoring matters, especially considering chronic, systemic health impacts associated to breathing polluted air.
BCAMP’s board will introduce the forum’s panelists: Don Gamiles, Ph.D., President of Argos Scientific, BCAMP’s contractor (see below); Eric Stevenson, former monitoring division manager with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and currently on staff with Argos; and Dr. Marjaneh Moini, oncologist, and in San Francisco, active with Physicians For Social Responsibility.
All about BCAMP
This first public forum represents BCAMP’s educational mission to help inform the public about what’s in our local air and what the data collected by our own monitoring station’s reliable, well-managed monitoring systems can potentially tell us.
If you’ve not yet heard about BCAMP, or wonder what we’ve been doing, we hope the following background may encourage you to attend our forum and get involved.
Last spring, BCAMP launched a fully equipped air monitoring station to sample local ambient air 24/7, and to report the sampling data on a public access website in real time https://www.fenceline.org/bcamp/. At the station, various monitors target an array of typical gases found in Benicia’s air. Air samples are collected in 5 minute intervals with data uploaded simultaneously to the website. All raw data is archived and is publicly available upon request for trend analyses and research purposes.
To our knowledge, BCAMP’s community-based station is the first and only one established in the U.S. that is wholly independent and owned by a non-profit.
Our station’s monitors are securely housed in a small cement-block building leased, for a nominal annual fee of one dollar, by Ruszel Woodworks, a company graciously enthusiastic about our mission. The station and its operation is funded by the Settlement Agreement originally negotiated in 2008, later amended in 2019, between Valero and the Good Neighbor Steering Committee.
The station is located in Benicia along Bayshore Rd., within the boundaries of the Benicia Industrial Park. The closest residential neighborhoods are on the east side of town. Major air pollution sources (mobile and stationary), within varying distances in the surrounding area include the I-680 and I-780 freeways, Port of Benicia shipping operations and parking lots, Union Pacific RR, and Valero’s facilities, (refinery, storage tanks, petroleum coke shipping terminal, asphalt plant, pipelines, oil tanker dock). The station is very close to the Suisun Bay marsh, a source at low tide of smelly, off-gassing, decaying plant life. We can’t forget toxic smoke from seasonal, urban/wild-land fires, and what we burn or use in our homes.
BCAMP is very fortunate to have contracted Argos Scientific to select, assemble and install our station’s equipment, and to continually operate and maintain the systems 24/7. Based in Vancouver WA, Argos researches and designs monitoring systems that serve communities and industry in California, nation-wide, and globally. <https://www.argos-sci.com>. Argos is also affiliated with university research projects and initiatives, and in California engages fruitfully on policy issues and monitoring capabilities with Cal-EPA’s Air Resources Board, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District [BAAQMD] and the South Coast AQMD.
We hope to see you next Monday evening, 7 p.m.!
BCAMP board member