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EMA checks air quality in La Brea

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
An EMA official conducts tests to check the quality of the air and records information as they continue to monitor the clean up efforts at Coffee Beach, La Brea yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Environmental Management Authority (EMA) compliance officers turned up at the beachfront in La Brea yesterday to do air quality tests, the day after Petrotrin announced that the oil spill clean-up was almost complete. Yesterday the overall-clad officers, accompanied by police escort, were seen using multiray lite air-monitoring equipment to test the hydrocarbon levels in the air at Coffee Beach. 



While the T&T Guardian was viewing clean-up efforts along Coffee Beach yesterday, the team of EMA officers entered the area and began doing tests. “Within recent times we have been doing monitoring to determine the levels of the volatile organic components in the air. We have to determine the safety of the air,” an officer said, on condition of anonymity. The officer said the EMA had noted that a “certain amount of work has been done” along the La Brea coastline, but the EMA has to continue testing air quality in the area.



The officer said the readings so far have not found anything of concern. While the EMA officers were doing their tests, personnel attached to the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) also visited the area. Yesterday, the tides were high along the shoreline and workers were unable to carry out cleaning operations.


However, two workers, wearing white plastic coveralls, were seen using a power-washer to remove oil from the trees and rocks on the shore of Coffee Beach. North of the beach at Point Sable, workers and heavy equipment were seen cleaning the sand. The sand along the shoreline, which had been blanketed with a thick layer of oil when the oil spill began washing ashore in mid-December, has returned to a healthy brown hue, indicating that conditions at Coffee Beach had improved significantly from December 17.


The only smell lingering on the sea breeze yesterday was the scent of salty seawater.


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