The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Understanding the fate and transport of petroleum hydrocarbons from coal tar within gasholders

Coulon, Frédéric; Orsi, Roberto; Turner, Claire; Walton, Chris; Daly, Paddy and Pollard, Simon J.T. (2009). Understanding the fate and transport of petroleum hydrocarbons from coal tar within gasholders. Environment International, 35(2) pp. 248–252.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2008.06.005
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Coal tars have been identified as posing a threat to human health due to their toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic characteristics. Workers involved in former gasholders decommissioning are potentially exposed to relevant concentrations of volatile and semi-volatile hydrocarbons upon opening up derelict tanks and during tar excavation/removal. While information on contaminated sites air-quality and its implications on medium-long term exposure is available, acute exposure issues associated with the execution of critical tasks are less understood. Calculations indicated that the concentration of a given contaminant in the gasholder vapour phase only depends on the coal tar composition, being only barely affected by the presence of water in the gasholder and the tar volume/void space ratio. Fugacity modelling suggested that risk-critical compounds such as benzene, naphthalene and other monocyclic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may gather in the gasholder air phase at significant concentrations. Gasholder emissions were measured on-site and compared with the workplace exposure limits (WELs) currently in use in UK. While levels for most of the toxic compounds were far lower than WELs, benzene air-concentrations where found to be above the accepted threshold. In addition due to the long exposure periods involved in gasholder decommissioning and the significant contribution given by naphthalene to the total coal tar vapour concentration, the adoption of a WEL for naphthalene may need to be considered to support operators in preventing human health risk at the workplace. The Level I fugacity approach used in this study demonstrated its suitability for applications to sealed environments such as gasholders and its further refining could provide a useful tool for land remediation risk assessors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 Elsevier
ISSN: 0160-4120
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetNationalGrid
Keywords: coal tar; gas emission; volatile organic compounds; fugacity; human health risk
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Biomedical Research Network (BRN)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 27038
Depositing User: Claire Turner
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2011 01:09
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 13:32
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/27038
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk