Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
Research article
21 Aug 2014
Research article |  | 21 Aug 2014

An integrated approach for the evaluation of technological hazard impacts on air quality: the case of the Val d'Agri oil/gas plant

M. Calvello, F. Esposito, and S. Trippetta

Abstract. The Val d'Agri area (southern Italy) hosts one of the biggest onshore European reservoir and the largest oil/gas pre-treatment plant, named Centro Olio Val d'Agri (COVA), located in a rural/anthropized context. Several hazards are associated with this plant. These are mainly represented by possible impacts of the COVA atmospheric emissions on the local air quality and human health. This work uses a novel approach based on the integration of air quality measurements from the regional monitoring network, additional experimental measurements (i.e. sub-micrometre particulate matter (PM1) and black carbon (BC)) and advanced statistical analyses to provide a preliminary evaluation of the Val d'Agri air quality state and give some indication of specific areas potentially affected by COVA hazards. Results show that the COVA plant emissions have a particular impact on the air quality of the area closest to it. In this area several pollutants specifically related to the COVA combustion processes (i.e. nitrogen oxides, benzene and toluene) show the highest concentration values and significant correlations. The proposed approach represents a first step in the assessment of the risks associated with oil/gas exploration and pre-treatment activities and a starting point for the development of effective and exportable air quality monitoring strategies.

Final-revised paper