Israel Environment Bulletin Winter 1992-5753, Vol. 15, No. 5

MONITORING OF AIRBORNE HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES IN RAMAT HOVAV

Plans for the establishment of a monitoring system for airborne pollutants in the Ramat Hovav area have been on the drawing board since 1986. Yet, despite several decisions on financing of the monitoring stations, on the parameters to be monitored and on the manner of monitoring, no operational results have ensued in five years. Recently, at the initiation of the southern district office of the Ministry of the Environment, the issue was raised again for discussion. The decisions taken by a joint forum of representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ramat Hovav local industrial council, and industrial plants in the region, should facilitate the establishment of a framework for air monitoring in the near future.

The difficulty in establishing an air monitoring network in Ramat Hovav is attributed to the inherent differences in airborne pollutants in this region in comparison to other areas in the country. In contrast to over 40 monitoring stations throughout Israel which monitor mainly fuel burning products such as SO2, NOx, CO and particulate matter, as well as ozone, a photochemical pollutant, the Ramat Hovav monitoring network must be capable of monitoring airborne pollutants which originate in chemical processes. While instruments, equipment and methods for the monitoring of pollutants which result from fuel burning are well established, standardized and commercially available, this is not the case with regard to the environmental monitoring of ambient airborne chemicals. Since information on the types and concentrations of airborne substances emitted in the Ramat Hovav area is currently absent, it was decided to set up a relatively limited monitoring network at present. Such a network will provide the necessary data and information on background pollutant levels required in the decision making process on the permanent system. Data on types and concentrations of airborne pollutants will enable follow-up over changes and trends in the future.

Following are the salient points raised in recent discussions on the proposed monitoring network in Ramat Hovav:

1. The monitoring network will include the monitoring equipment specified below. Monitoring will be carried out for a period of one year during which time the equipment will be set up and operated at various locations in the Ramat Hovav area in accordance to a detailed plan. This will enable a decision on the permanent sites of the monitoring stations.

2. The immediate establishment of a meteorological monitoring station in Ramat Hovav is imperative. The Ministry of the Environment has endeavored to attain the professional sponsorship of the Meteorological Service for the operation of the station.

3. Establishment and operation of the monitoring network should be under the reponsibility of the environmental unit of the Ramat Hovav local industrial council. For this purpose professional manpower will be added to the unit.

4. The air quality management program will be based on adherence to emission standards and on continuous monitoring of individual pollution sources.

5. Further professional discussions on the technical details required to implement the plan are to take place with the participation of representatives of the industrial plants and environmental experts.

The monitoring station will include the following components:

– an air conditioned trailer-like installation or such a housing unit placed on a platform with wheels to enable limited mobility.

– an instrument for the continuous monitoring of total halogens.

– an instrument for the continous monitoring of total sulfur compounds in addition to sulfur dioxide.

– continuous monitoring of meteorological parameters (e.g. wind direction and intensity, solar radiation, temperature and relative humidity) at a height of 10 meters above ground level.

– sampling of total suspended particles by means of a High Volume Sampler (HiVol), at a frequency of 50 daily measurements for the duration of a year.

– sampling of respirable suspended particles (PM10) by means of HiVol at a frequency of 50 daily measurements for a year.

– sampling of total hydrocarbons by means of a Low Volume Sampler (LoVol), with activated carbon to be analysed by means of a gas chromatograph (GC).

The samples of the HiVol will be chemically analyzed to identify cadmium, phosphorus and other components to be determined at a later date.

In addition, upper air measurements (minisonde measurements) will be conducted to determine the temperature variation at Ramat Hovav to a height of 1.5 kilometers.

The collected data, stored by a data logger in a computer, will be displayed in real time on a screen in the mobile installation.

In case of violations, notifications will be dispatched to the Ramat Hovav local industrial council and to the Ministry of the Environment District Office in Beer Sheva. A monthly data report based on both continuous monitoring and sampling results will be prepared.

Interested instrument companies will be welcome to utilize the mobile unit to evaluate the performance of their own monitoring equipment. Such equipment might include an Ion Mobility Spectrometer (IMS) device for monitoring bromine and phosphoric compounds, a remote sensing device and upper air measurement equipment.