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Simulation of potential formation of atmospheric pollution from aboveground storage tank leakage after severe storms

Bi, Shiyang and Kiaghadi, Amin and Schulze, Benjamin C. and Bernier, Carl and Bedient, Philip B. and Padgett, Jamie E. and Rifai, Hanadi and Griffin, Robert J. (2021) Simulation of potential formation of atmospheric pollution from aboveground storage tank leakage after severe storms. Atmospheric Environment, 248 . Art. No. 118225. ISSN 1352-2310. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2021.118225.

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Damage by severe storms of infrastructure containing chemicals can cause widespread pollution of the atmosphere and nearby bodies of water. Because atmospheric monitoring equipment is inoperable in the periods after these storms, transport and fate modeling approaches are necessary to estimate the regional atmospheric concentrations of evaporated spill material and secondary pollutants from such events. Hypothetical spills from a single storage tank in Houston were used to evaluate the impact of different meteorological scenarios (Hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Ike in 2008), leaked materials (oils and organic solvents), background chemical conditions, and cloud conditions on simulated air pollution. Due to differences in evaporation rate, downwind oil plumes are predicted to cover a broader region than organic solvent plumes, which remain concentrated along the path of the prevailing wind. Depending on assumptions regarding evaporation, mixing ratios of spilled material of up to 90 parts per million are predicted. Substantial formation of ozone (up to an enhancement of 130 parts per billion) and secondary organic aerosol (up to an enhancement of 30 μg m⁻³) could occur in the short-term aftermath of these storms within the downwind solvent plumes, with the magnitude dependent on the solar radiation, type of material, and background pollutant level. This highlights the potential vulnerability of residents and workers in downwind regions to evaporated spill materials and their degradation products.

Item Type:Article
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Schulze, Benjamin C.0000-0002-6405-8872
Additional Information:© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. Received 3 April 2020, Revised 24 November 2020, Accepted 17 January 2021, Available online 27 January 2021. This work was supported financially by the Energy and Environment Initiative (EEI) at Rice University. EEI had no input on the design or execution of this study. Declaration of author interests: none. CRediT authorship contribution statement: Shiyang Bi: Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing - original draft. Amin Kiaghadi: Methodology, Writing - review & editing. Benjamin C. Schulze: Methodology, Writing - review & editing. Carl Bernier: Methodology, Writing - review & editing. Philip B. Bedient: Methodology, Writing - review & editing. Jamie E. Padgett: Methodology, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Hanadi Rifai: Methodology, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. Robert J. Griffin: Conceptualization, Supervision, Writing - review & editing. The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
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Rice UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Hurricane; Tank leakage; Evaporated spill materials; Ozone; Secondary organic aerosol
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210407-145721443
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Official Citation:Shiyang Bi, Amin Kiaghadi, Benjamin C. Schulze, Carl Bernier, Philip B. Bedient, Jamie E. Padgett, Hanadi Rifai, Robert J. Griffin, Simulation of potential formation of atmospheric pollution from aboveground storage tank leakage after severe storms, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 248, 2021, 118225, ISSN 1352-2310, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108649
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Apr 2021 22:25
Last Modified:08 Apr 2021 22:25

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