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SULPHUR

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Title: SULPHUR


1
SULPHUR
  • Excessive sulphur is incompatible with the health
    of the environment, of property, of animals and
    of people.
  • Presentation to the
  • Municipal Planning CommissionLamont County
  • By
  • Walter Schneider
  • 2006 03 22
  • Background material for this presentation
    http//fathersforlife.org/Bruderheim/sulphur_stora
    ge/sulphur_blocks.htm
  • Background material for more comprehensive
    concerns regarding more issues within the scope
    of the HAZCO proposal for Lamont County
  • http//fathersforlife.org/Bruderheim/sulphur_stora
    ge/Hazco.htm

2
References
  • It is strongly recommended that you look up
    the full text (10,000 words, including footnotes)
    from which this presentation was extracted and
    summarized.
  • The 20-minute presentation format does not do
    justice to the complexity of the issues touched
    upon in the presentation. The full text of the
    background material used for the presentation
    does a far better job of that.See Sulphur
    Blocks and Sulphur Poisoning

3
Index to background material used in this
presentation
  • Sulphur-storage and -handling issues
  • Introduction
  • Sulphur block-storage, processing and loading
    at Shell's Shantz Sulphur Facility
  • Sulphur prills render environmental pollution
    by sulphur harmless?
  • Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
    McMurray

4
Index to background material used in this
presentation
  • Sulphur Poisoning
  • Sulphur in a nutshell
  • Some properties of solid sulphur that are of
    concern
  • Some properties of liquid sulphur that are of
    concern
  • Sulphur - short description
  • Health effects of sulphur
  • Mortality from Lung Cancer in Workers Exposed
    to Sulfur Dioxide in the Pulp and Paper
    Industry
  • Sulphur in Beef Cattle Nutrition
  • Sulphur-Containing Compounds in Drinking Water
    for Cattle
  • Effects of sulphur on the environment
  • Toxicity Data
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Sulphuric acid
  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • Sulphur pentafluoride  

5
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
  • The model for the Lamont County Proposal
  • Satellite View (roughly ¾ by ¾ of a mile)
  • The Shantz model has been used also for the
  • Pine River Gas Plant, in North Eastern B.C.

6
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
The Pine River Gas Plant experienced a good
number of incidents that halted the elimination
of sulphur, amongst them ten fires in the
interval from Dec. 14, 1996 to Mar. 14, 2001, of
whom eight happened in the year 2000, most of
those in September of that year.  That series
of incidents caused the National Energy Board to
become involved and to hold a hearing.  At that
hearing it was determined that a number of
concerns needed to be addressed before Westcoast
Energy would receive permission to keep operating
its pipeline.  That was due to the National
Energy Board's concern for the safety of the
residents in the sparsely settled vicinity of the
gas plant. 
7
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
  • The September 9, 2000 Fire

The sulphur fire that happened September 9, 2000
at the Pine River GasPlant, destroyed a pipeline
building.  It burned an estimated 107 kg of
sulphur, creating sulphur dioxide in quantities
and concentrations that affected a few people,
causing them to require medical attention.  A
young child needed to have oxygen administered. 
The vegetation downwind from that fire was
severely damaged up to a distance of 30 m, with
severity of the damage to the vegetation
gradually decreasing to minor levels 300 m away.
8
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
  • The NEB posed requirements for an Emergency
    Response Plan

9
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
The basic elements of an emergency response plan
include general and site specific emergency
response procedures monitoring protocols to
verify adherence to public evacuation and
shelter criteria a description and location
of response equipment an estimation of
response times for different emergency
scenarios a procedure to establish and
maintain liaison with all parties that may be
involved in an emergency situation a training
plan a communication plan and a procedure
to ensure that emergency response exercises and
response activities from incidents are reviewed
and incorporated into the emergency procedures
manual, staff training, and continuing education
programs.
10
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
The NEB stated While the SPERP contains these
basic elements, theBoard has identified the
following three concerns a discrepancy
between the SPERP and FERP with respect to
monitoring protocols to verify adherence to
public evacuation and shelter criteria
training on the Incident Command System is a one
time only requirement (see section 3.3.3) for
each level and the omission of a definite
commitment to post incident follow-up.
11
Sulphur Fires at Pine River
The NEB further stated Westcoast must clarify
its monitoring protocols to ensure there is no
short- or long-term risk to health or safety of
individuals or the environment from the
operation of the sulphur pipeline. Further, given
the importance of training in the area of
emergency response, Westcoast should develop and
track an employee training program as discussed
in Section 3.3.3. The Board recommends that
Westcoast, prior to restarting the pipeline,
address the discrepancies between the Companys
SPERP and FERP regarding SO2 levels, monitoring
protocols and the public evacuation and shelter
criteria. Once clarified, these requirements need
to be communicated to employees and the public.
The Board further recommends that Westcoast
review training requirements to identify those
staff that require additional training to
maintain a high level of emergency preparedness.
12
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
13
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
14
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
15
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
16
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
17
Shells Shantz Sulphur Facility
18
Sulphur Prills
19
Spilled Sulphur Prills near Shantz 8 km
downstream
20
Spilled Sulphur Prills near Shantz 8 km
downstream
21
Spilled Sulphur Prills near Shantz 8 km
downstream
22
Spilled Sulphur Prills near Shantz 8 km
downstream
23
Spilled Sulphur Prills near Shantz 8 km
downstream
24
Sulphur in Transit
  • Transport regulations consider liquid sulphur
    to be a hazardous substance. 
  • Shipments of solid sulphur by road are not
    considered to be dangerous to public health or
    the environment.  That is obviously an error, as
    is amply illustrated by the billion-dollar
    clean-up operation of a piece of real estate
    formerly used for loading sulphur onto ships in
    the heart of Vancouver. (See  Ottawa on the hook
    for billion-dollar clean-up of vacant land)

25
Sulphur in Transit
Ottawa is on the hook for a contaminated piece
of waterfront land in Vancouver. Clean-up costs
estimated to be in the order of 1 billion
26
Sulphur in Transit
The land is contaminated with sulphur and toxic
metals.
27
Sulphur in Transit
Cindy Silver says 'I think there are a lot of
good civil servants trying to fixwhat has been a
terribly disastrous financial deal for the
taxpayers.'
28
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
Out of sight - out of mind The sight of large
sulphur blocks or piles of sulphur is a constant
reminder of the health- and environmental
liabilities they pose.  Why not hide the excess
sulphur? (Industry jargon calls sulphur coming
from desulphurization units desulphurization
waste-stream.) Syncrude produces and stores
significant amounts of sulphur in a sulphur
block actually several large sulphur blocks -
WHS at its plant site as there is presently a
limited market for the sulphur. There can be no
assurance that future environmental regulations
pertaining to the use, storage, handling and/or
sale of sulphur will not adversely impact the
unit costs of production of synthetic oil.
Syncrude is exploring the ability to bury
sulphur blocks underground. Initial information
indicates that this may be a viable and
environmentally friendly solution for dealing
with the excess sulphur. Syncrude continues to
research alternatives for addressing this issue,
which affects the entire petroleum industry.
(Annual Report 2003, Canadian Oil Sands Trust,
 - 1MB PDF file, p. 43)
29
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
30
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
31
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
32
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
33
Unsold "Excess Sulphur" at Syncrude in Fort
McMurray
Underground Storage.Alberta Sulphur Research
Ltd. was analyzingpreliminary data from its
5-year test for storing elemental
sulfur underground. The expenses incurred to
mitigate the cost of acid run-off treatment from
sulfur stored in large blocks, such as found in
Alberta, can be as much as 10 million per year
for a 3-Mt block. Storing the sulfur
underground in areas with low subsoil
temperatures inhibits the action of the bacteria
that converts the elemental sulfur to sulfuric
acid by maintaining temperatures lower than
necessary for bacterial activity and restricting
the available oxygen required for the activity.
Data from the first 2 years of the test showed
no bacterial activity. The 5-year test was
expected to provide support for regulatory
approval for this type of sulfur storage.
(Clark, 2001b, mentioned in Sulfur,by Joyce
Ober, USGS Minerals Information Team, USGS
Minerals Yearbook 2001, p. 75.10).
34
Sulphur Storage Costs
When the question of sulphur storage costs in
relation to the treatment of acid run-off from
sulphur in large blocks was put to Shell and
HAZCO at the February 2006 HAZCO-sponsored tour
of the Shantz site, Shell and HAZCO
representatives first exchanged glances and then
indicated that they had no knowledge of water
treatment being a concern.
35
Some properties of solid sulphur that are of
concern
Flash point 168 C (The flash point is the
temperature at which vapours abovea volatile
combustible substance ignite in air when exposed
to flame) Auto ignition temperature 248 C (The
temperature at which sulphur will burstinto
flame when air is present) Extinguishing Media
Water fog, dry chemical, foam, carbon dioxide.
Small fires can be smothered with inert
materials. Special Fire Fighting Procedures
Prevent water run-off entering streams, sewers
or drinking water. Sensitivity to Mechanical
Impact Friction may cause sulphur to ignite.
Sensitivity to Static Discharge Yes, static
charge release may ignite dust in air. Unusual
Fire and Explosion Hazards Keep away from
ignition sources (e.g., heat, sparks, and open
flames). Due to the production of sulphur dioxide
and H2S, firefighters should wear self-contained
breathing apparatus (SCBA). Other personnel with
the same equipment should stand by for rescue
purposes. Product Identification, Solid
Sulphur, Burlington Industries
36
Some properties of solid sulphur that are of
concern
Health Hazards (acute and chronic) Dust may be
irritating to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
Solid sulphur (especially when freshly produced)
may release hydrogen sulphide gas, which can
accumulate in confined, non-ventilated areas.
Hydrogen sulphide may cause irritation, breathing
failure, coma and death, without necessarily any
warning odour being sensed. Residual effects
after exposure can include shortness of breath,
wheezing and delayed pulmonary oedema (may be
fatal). Research on animals has shown effects on
the respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems
at concentrations above 10 ppm. Long term
effects of exposure may include respiratory
problems and inflammation of the eyes. Frequent
or prolonged contact may irritate the skin and
cause a skin rash. Product Identification,
Solid Sulphur, Burlington Industries
37
Health Effects of Sulphur Poisoning
  • Elemental sulphur is not toxic, but many simple
    sulphur derivates are, such as sulphur dioxide
    (SO2) and hydrogen sulphide.
  • Sulfur can be found commonly in nature as
    sulphides. During several
  • processes sulpur bonds are added to the
    environment that are damaging to animals, as well
    as humans. These damaging sulphur bonds are also
    shaped in nature during various reactions, mostly
    when substances that are not naturally present
    have already been added. They are unwanted
    because of their unpleasant smells and are often
    highly toxic.
  • Sulphur, Lenntech Water treatment air
    purification Holding B.V.
  • That is not quite correct. In the digestive
    system, especially that of ruminants, sulphur is
    readily converted to compounds that are toxic.
    An excess intake of sulphur will kill cattle,
    sheep and camelids. An application of 90 kg of
    sulphur per hectare to pasture will suffice to
    cause those effects.

38
Health Effects of Sulphur Poisoning
Globally, sulphuric substances can have the
following effects on human health-
Neurological effects and behavioural changes-
Disturbance of blood circulation- Heart damage-
Effects on eyes and eyesight- Reproductive
failure- Damage to immune systems- Stomach and
gastrointestinal disorder- Damage to liver and
kidney functions- Hearing defects- Disturbance
of the hormonal metabolism- Dermatological
effects- Suffocation and lung embolism
Sulphur, Lenntech Water treatment air
purification Holding B.V.
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