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Bureau, Sinopec at odds over leakage
Date: 2014-9-15 Click: 2490
THE Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau and a local unit of Sinopec, a state-owned oil and gas company, are at odds over hydrogen sulfide leakage in Xinjiangwan Town in Yangpu District.

Environmental authorities claimed the leakage occurred during maintenance work at the Sinopec plant but the company said the emissions were well below the national limit. Experts have, for now, ruled out any cause for alarm.

Xinjiangwan residents told a local television station that the rotten egg-like odor first started on September 5. The smell worsened in the next five days. Although the hydrogen sulfide concentration was within limits, its reading at one time nearly touched the national limit ¡ª 60 micrograms per cubic meter.

The strong smell could be felt even yesterday morning and many Xinjiangwan residents were forced to keep their windows firmly closed. A male resident said he woke up with a sore throat.

Another woman said the smell was stronger at night than during the day. But the reading of hydrogen sulfide density at 10am near the plant ¡ª 15 to 16 micrograms per cubic meter ¡ª showed that it was within the safe range.

Sinopec said maintenance work at the plant began on September 1. It said the hydrogen sulfide density was maintained at about 25 micrograms per cubic meter, and denied that the odor was from the plant. ¡°We are working hard to investigate the incident but so far there has been no sign of any abnormal factor that can point to the odor,¡± said Sinopec spokesman Fu Yuzhang,

However, the bureau said that based on their monitoring data, the source of the leak was from the plant.

Qian Wenrong, a bureau official, said that sulfide can release a strong smell even when its concentration is low.

¡°Generally, it can be smelt even when its density is 5 to 6 micrograms per cubic meter,¡± Qian said.

He insisted that the short-time exposure to sulfide would not affect the health of the residents. He said the bureau has asked the company to reduce sulfide emission during maintenance.

Qian also said they planned to propose a lower limit to the country¡¯s environmental department soon.

However, residents claimed that it was not the first time they had smelt such an odor and demanded that authorities find a lasting solution to the problem.
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