Category Archives: Air Quality

Benicia Herald: ‘Refineries failing at fenceline monitoring’

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After this quick read, PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS on Valero’s Air Monitoring Plans and Quality Assurance Project Plans to the Bay Area Air District.  They are accepting comments on the refineries’ plans through Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m. Details on the BenIndy here. Comments should be sent to

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources:

BCAMP ACTION ALERT: Tell Our Air District That Valero Is Failing

This is a news release from Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP), issued April 12, 2023. Please take a few minutes to follow the instructions below to submit an emailed comment in support of this important request. 

We need the public to push the Air District to enforce its fenceline regulations. Valero is failing.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is requesting public input by Thursday, April 20 on the Air Monitoring Plans (AMPs) and Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) from the five Bay Area refineries. The public input relates to the measurement of the dangerous gas-hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by the refineries’ open path fenceline monitoring systems.

The bottom line is this: since the law went into effect in January, four out of the five Bay Area refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements for detecting and reporting the level of hydrogen sulfide at the refinery fencelines. One of the refineries, Martinez Refining Company, is meeting the requirements, so we know that the technology to provide the important data to the public is readily available.

We need to make sure that all five Bay Area Refineries, including Valero, are held accountable!

This is not just about the refineries following rules set by the Air District, it’s about public health. We need to know what is in the air we breathe! Your comments to the district make a tremendous difference. The Air Board  does pay attention to the comments and the public sentiment.  So please take a couple of minutes to send this email or one like it.

How to comment

IMPORTANT: the deadline for comments is Thursday, April 20 at 5pm. Don’t delay! Please act now. 

Please send your comment to Joe Lapka at

Please put in the subject line: “Comment on Revised Draft Refinery Fenceline Air Monitoring Plans for Valero, Phillips 66, Tesoro and Chevron.”

You can simply copy and paste the following as your comment, or write your own:

The revised refinery air monitoring plans show that four out of five refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements. It is apparent that only the open path system being utilized at the Martinez Refining Company meets the requirements listed in the Air District’s 12/22/2022 letter, as defined by the requirements in their Quality Assurance Project  Plan (QAPP). The systems being used at the other four refineries does not meet these requirements. All refineries should utilize equipment that meets the Air District requirements as stated in the 12/22/2022 letters.  All requirements across all Bay Area refineries should be as uniform as possible in operation and data display to allow communities to compare measurements and performance across refineries.  This isn’t just about following the rules, it’s about public health and safety!  We deserve to know what we are breathing.

In addition, we request that all technologies used at all Bay Area refineries have similar operational and data display parameters developed and required soon. We truly feel this will help re-establish community trust in the data generated by the technologies in use as part of Rule 12-15.

It is vital that the refineries be held accountable—not just by paying fines—but by installing the equipment that will meet the Air District’s requirements without delay.

There should also be a public meeting about this important topic.

Thank you for taking a stand with us!

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources:

ALERT! This Monday, 3/27 – Public forum on Benicia air quality

Be Informed – Benicia’s Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP)

By Marilyn Bardet, March 25, 2023

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).

Basic Questions

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.

Panelists ID: 630 133 6902 One tap mobile +12532050468, 6301336902# US Meeting ID: 630 133 6902 One tap mobile +12532050468, 6301336902# US

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  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. <>. 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.!

Marilyn Bardet
BCAMP board member

* To join the forum, here’s the Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 630 133 6902
One tap mobile +12532050468, 6301336902# US ID: 630 133 6902 One tap mobile +12532050468, 6301336902# US
Click this image (or link above) to join…

Be Informed – Benicia’s Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP)

By Constance Beutel, March 5, 2023

Be Informed

Our communities have been especially blessed through the active efforts of the Benicia Good Neighbor Steering Committee, the Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP), Dr Gwen Ottinger of Drexel University and the Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon by instituting a totally community operated Air Monitoring System (BCAMP) with real time, publicly accessible air monitoring data.

Now, for the first time, we can subscribe to email notifications generated from the BCAMP data when detected Benzene, Black Carbon, Ozone, PM2.5, Sulfur Dioxide, Toluene, Xylene exceed standards. Knowing this will be important for those of us living in Benicia, and our surrounding areas. Here’s the link:

As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might also consider these resources:

Constance Beutel, Air Watch Bay Area