When communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field grew concerned about the potential emissions of air pollutants from oil field operations, the County of Los Angeles hired STI to perform an air quality study.
Our year-long study focused on (1) quantifying air toxics concentrations originating from the Inglewood Oil Field operations, including drilling and well workovers, and (2) assessing the health risk of both acute and chronic exposure to air toxics emitted from oil field operations.
Using advanced instrumentation, we measured a range of toxic pollutants (black carbon, metals, and volatile organic compounds) and assessed the wind patterns, temperature, and humidity that influence pollutant concentrations.
Study results showed that
  • Statistically significant increases in concentrations of diesel particulate matter (DPM) occurred under west-southwest winds.
  • Oil field emissions of DPM contributed to an incremental increase in chronic cancer risk of about 6.7 per million residents, which is below the “significant risk” level established by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
  • Other air toxic pollutants were statistically indistinguishable from background Los Angeles air.
Using these findings, the County of Los Angeles now has objective data to make informed decisions about current oil field operations; assess compliance with regulations; and explain their decisions to the community, the media, and regulatory agencies.