A recent report found that nearly 300 companies in Texas were producing air pollution emissions. Learn how high efficiency air filters can protect residents in the state.
Industrial Air Filtration News – According to a recent report by the research arm of Environment Texas, industrial facilities in Texas were responsible for spewing out tens of millions of pounds of unauthorized air pollution emissions in 2017. These emissions were the product of equipment malfunctions and other incidents the companies argued were unavoidable. In any case, it’s clear homes and commercial buildings near industrial facilities can benefit from installing air filters with higher efficiency.
Results of Texas Air Pollution Emission Report
Using data acquired by the Environmental Integrity Project, a Washington D.C.-based environmental non-profit, analysts from Environment Texas found that 275 companies across the state of Texas produced a combined total of 63 million pounds of toxic and climate change-causing pollutants from their facilities in 2017.
These emissions included sulfur dioxide (SO2), benzene, particulate matter (PM), and a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Perhaps most concerning is that these emissions represent an increase of 27 percent from 2016.
Observers have pointed out that this spike in air pollution was caused in part to the surge in West Texas’ natural gas sector, with operators burning record amounts of natural gas. The shutdown of industrial facilities in Houston due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey may also be the cause in the significant increase in air pollution emissions—startups and shutdowns of facilities often result in the production of a large volume of emissions.
Texas Facilities Routinely Contributing to Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality Issues
According to a Texas Tribune report published in 2017, companies with industrial facilities in the state were found to have consistently exceeded the air pollution guidelines outlined in their government-issued air quality permits, causing problems for the outdoor air quality and indoor air quality in the neighborhoods and homes surrounding them.
The companies, however, claim that these violations were unintentional, the result of what they referred to as “upsets,” which include equipment issues, operator errors and maintenance work. According to state law, these incidents allow companies to avoid penalties, provided they can prove these “upsets” were truly unavoidable.
Current State of Emissions from Texas Companies Makes Air Filtration Systems Necessary
Environmental groups in the state, however, fired back by pointing out that it’s impossible for so many companies to constantly experience the same “upsets” every year. In addition, the unusually high number of repeat offenders suggests many companies are simply not taking accountability for their excessive air pollution emissions. At the rate things are currently going, high efficiency air filtration systems may be a necessity across many of the state’s cities.
Those groups also add that when facilities have no choice but to shut down because of a natural disaster emergency, such as a hurricane or flooding, these companies could use modern equipment or more efficient operating practices to reduce their air pollution emissions produced by startups and shutdowns.
Sensitive Groups in Texas Need Air Purifiers in Homes
According to Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, air pollution in Texas is making people sick, particularly sensitive groups such as children, senior citizens, and people with existing respiratory issues. These at-risk groups also face a greater need for air purifiers in homes, ensuring their indoor spaces are free of airborne pollutants from outdoor and indoor sources.
Adding insult to injury, Environment Texas’ analysis found that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s environmental regulatory agency, could have issued penalties amounting to as much as $2.3 billion for violations in 2017, but instead levied a mere $1.2 million—roughly equal to 2 cents for every pound of air pollution produced that year.
The organization is calling for TCEQ to be more aggressive in cracking down on these violations and issuing fines actually proportionate to the profits these violating companies are making in exchange for polluting the air.
Can an Air Purification System Capture Industrial Emissions?
As officials and regulators in Texas continue to grapple with this air pollution problem, what’s clear is that Texans will have to be proactive about protecting themselves and their loved ones from worsening air quality, starting in their own homes. A high-quality air purification system is perhaps the most effective way to protect against industrial emissions. These systems typically have a combination of a HEPA filter, which removes particulate matter down to 0.3 microns at an efficiency rate of 99.97 percent, as well as an activated carbon filter that absorbs VOCs and chemical fumes.
Look for Reliable Air Filter Manufacturers
Unfortunately, interest in air filter systems has given rise to so-called bargain filters that promise “HEPA-like” performance. These products either break down after a few months or don’t work as advertised. For best results, look for trusted air filter manufacturers like Camfil US. Camfil USA can recommend commercial or industrial air filtration solutions according to a customer’s needs and circumstances.
To learn more about how high efficiency air filters can improve indoor air quality in commercial buildings and homes, get in touch with the Camfil USA team. Browse through our catalog of air filtration products to explore our solutions yourself.
Camfil USA Air Filters