WVDEP data indicates Optima Belle explosion had minimal impact on air quality

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- Recent air monitoring data collected by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Division of Air Quality (DAQ) indicated no exceedances of the federal national ambient air quality standards during or in the hours following Tuesday’s explosion at the Optima Belle chemical facility in Belle, the agency announced Thursday.

The fire at the Belle chemical facility was extinguished within hours of the incident and did not create ongoing emissions to the atmosphere. DAQ reviewed raw data from the closest ambient air monitoring station to the facility, known as the NCore site, located on Dixie Street in Charleston, and the raw data indicates no spikes in pollutants were observed around the time of the incident and the concentrations were consistent with those during Dec. 7th and Dec. 9th. The data is available on the DEP website: https://dep.wv.gov/daq/Pages/default.aspx.

“Based on what we know of the chemistry involved, the compounds would have dispersed rapidly and not posed an acute hazard to the community based on the expected dilution of products of combustion in the atmosphere,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary, Austin Caperton.

The WVDEP is continuing to investigate this incident. The NCore station continuously monitors local air quality.

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