Last night at the Argyle Town Hall Meeting, I asked Tony Walker, TCEQ Regional Director, about their monitoring standard:
the TCEQ investigators are only required to collect an air sample, if the total chemicals in the air are more than 140 times the average amount for the Metroplex
If we are breathing chemicals near that benchmark, it seems alarming to me! Walker said TCEQ has no such benchmark and it was misreported in the media, but he is the one who is mistaken. 140 times more than the average amount of VOCs for the Metroplex is the TCEQ must test benchmark.
I don’t think Walker intentionally misled us. He is an administrator, not a technical or scientific person. Maybe Dr. Honeycutt some technical person at TCEQ could help him understand.
Here’s how I think it works:
TCEQ takes their TVA monitoring device to measure the VOCs in the air. Much like an IR video camera, a TVA cannot tell you what specific VOCs are in the air. It only measures total chemicals and it is a fairly imprecise instrument. If VOCs are detected at 5000 ppb then the TCEQ MUST test.
The average amount of VOCs is 35 ppb.
142 rounds down to 140 times the average amount for the Metroplex.
TCEQ, just FYI,
When you send people to meetings like the one in Argyle where people are already extremely angry, it does not help your image when they either cannot answer questions or they answer them incorrectly. There is no doubt that Walker is an excellent communicator but he needs to be sure he is communicating the correct information.