n Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug - The atmospheric impact of SASOL synfuels operations on adjacent residential development




Sasol Synfuels is a petrochemical industry producing fuels and chemicals from coal and situated in the Gert Sibande district municipality of Mpumdanga.

These activities result in pollutants being released into the atmosphere. It was required to determine if reducing the radius of a 5.2 km pollution circle, measured from the centre of the plant, by 400m, to allow further residential development, will expose residents to an unacceptable ambient benzene concentration. A detailed study was implemented whereby the ambient air was sampled and analysised during a two seasonal period to determine how the benzene emissions released from the factory will impact on future residents within this 400m area. Meteorological measurements were also used to monitor atmospheric conditions.
The results showed that the yearly average of ambient benzene concentrations for Secunda was 0.41 ppb and 0.64 ppb for eMbalenhle which was below the South African standard, but there were frequent sampling periods when the short-term concentrations exceeded the annual standard, occurring mostly during the night, when the majority of residents were at home.
From the results obtained, the 5.2 km pollution circle should therefore be maintained to ensure this risk of exposure to people is kept to a minimum.


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