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Feb 26

Emissions found coming from Dominion Cove Point right now!

DCP FLIR emissions

Emissions are shown coming from the under-construction fracked gas export terminal at Cove Point in early February 2017.

Emissions have been detected coming from the fracked gas export terminal Dominion is building in the Cove Point community of Lusby, Maryland. This is well ahead of even the rosiest of projected completion dates. Residents have been fighting this terminal for the past few years, many with the assumption that the air would be unhealthy for them and their families if the terminal is completed and opens. Since the facility has been mostly dormant for the past 40 years as an import terminal, there’s been less concern about health risks prior to the project’s completion. However, new footage shows Dominion is already polluting the air at Cove Point.

After being invited by We Are Cove Point, a team from Earthworks traveled to Cove Point in early February, bringing a FLIR camera operator all the way from Colorado. FLIR cameras are designed to pick up heat and gaseous emissions invisible to the naked eye. Click here for more details on Earthworks’ FLIR camera program.

FLIR cameras can show that emissions are occurring, but not the volume or type of emissions. In the words of the FLIR operator who came to Cove Point, the resulting footage shows “a noticeable non-heat plume above the point source, and it went quite high into the air. There is a possibility that this emissions plume contains toxic volatile organic compounds, and it definitely contains greenhouse gasses. It is usually understood that between 92 and 97 percent of combusted point sources are actually burned. The rest, particularly methane in the context of gas-fired compressor turbine exhaust, emits without being burned off fully. I would suggest getting answers from regulators about the exact combustion efficiency of this site to calculate possible methane emissions.”

It’s important that affected people and watchdogs know exactly what is currently being emitted from Dominion Cove Point. It is alarming that these emissions are occurring right now, without the knowledge of the surrounding community.

If you live near this facility, we recommend you keep a nuisance calendar — notes that list the date and time of any symptoms or illnesses you feel. This can be anything from headaches to nausea to vomiting to trouble breathing. If you notice or smell anything other than clean air, Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community has created a form to help keep a record and make a complaint. Politicians and regulators have shown they won’t be on top of these concerns, so it’s up to us to keep track of these impacts.

Dominion is permitted to emit the pollutants below and many more.* The emissions recorded in the video could include any mixture of the following:

Pollutant:                         Health effects of note:
Trichloroethane                 liver cancer
Tetrachloroethane             liver tumors
Butadiene                          hemato cancer
Dichloropropene                cancer of the bladder, liver, lung and forestomach
Chloronaphthalene            lung, stomach and skin cancer
Methlnaphthalene              lung and nasal tumors
Acrolein                              decreased pulmonary function; chronic respiratory disease
Anthracene                         lung, kidney and skin cancer
Arsenic                               lung and lymphatic cancer
Benzene                             dizziness and unconsciousness; longterm exposure can cause leukemia
Beryllium                            lung cancer
Biphenyl                             irritation of eyes, nose and skin; nausea
Cadmium                           prostatic and lung cancer
Chlorobenzene                  irritation of eyes, skin and nose; central nervous system depression
Chromium                          irritations of eyes and skin; lung fibrosis
Cobalt                                asthma; many other respiratory and pulmonary symptoms
Dichlorobenzene                irritation of eyes and nose; liver and kidney damage; skin blisters
Formaldehyde                    nasal cancer
Hexane                               aspiration of liquid; irritation of eyes and nose; headaches; weakness
Lead                                   kidney disease; digestive disorders; joint paralysis; irritation of eyes; tremors
Manganese                        kidney damage; respiratory disorders; vomiting; mental confusion; insomnia
Mercury                              irritation of eyes and skin; respiratory disorders; tremors; insomnia; headaches
Methanol                            irritation of eyes, skin and upper respiratory system; headaches; blindness
Naphthalene                      irritation of eyes, nose and throat; asthma; other respiratory disorders
Nickel                                 sensitization dermatitis; allergic asthma; pneumonitis
Phenanthrene                     lung, kidney and skin cancer
Phenol                                liver and kidney damage; irritation of eyes, nose and throat; skin burns
Pyrene                                lung, kidney and skin cancer
Selenium                            irritation of eyes, skin, nose and throat; eye and skin burns; headaches
Styrene                               reproductive effects; irritation of eyes, nose and respiratory system; headaches
Toluene                               liver and kidney damage; irritation of eyes and nose; headaches; confusion
Vinyl chloride                      liver cancer
Xylenes                               irritation of eyes, skin, nose and throat; vomiting; corneal vacuolization
Barium                                cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and reproductive disorders
Ammonia                            high levels can cause burns of skin, eyes, nose and throat; lung damage; death
Butane                                drowsiness; narcosis; asphyxia
Chrysene                            lung, kidney and skin cancer
Copper                               irritation of eyes and upper respiratory system; chills and aches; nausea; fever
Sulfuric acid mist                increased risk of cancer of the larynx and lung
Vanadium                           irritation of eyes, skin and throat; eczema; respiratory illnesses; green tongue
Zinc                                    gastrointestinal, hematological and respiratory illnesses

*This information comes from the Maryland Public Service Commission, which issued the permit to build and run a full-size power plant on the site. This was the largest permit issued by the Maryland government to Dominion Cove Point. To download a full spreadsheet with detailed information about the quantity of each of these pollutants that are permitted to be emitted from Dominion Cove Point, click on HAPs_TAPs.