During the Buncefield incident in Hertfordshire in 2005, it was established that there was no coordinated response to potentially adverse air-quality incidents in the UK. As a result, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked the Environment Agency (EA) to lead a coordinated monitoring and modelling response with the Met Office, Health Protection Agency, Public Health Wales, health and safety laboratories, and the Food Standards Agency, in order to set up air-quality incident-response teams.
The key aim for the response teams is to ensure delivery of robust and timely air quality information to the Health Protection Agency and other key partners during a major air-pollution incident, thus enabling appropriate action by the emergency services. Furthermore, they will aid meaningful and timely messages for public information. Eight teams are being set up to cover the whole of England and Wales. Each team will be equipped with portable monitoring equipment.
Hydrogen sulphide is one of a number of parameters that the EA want to be able to monitor during an incident. Hydrogen sulphide is a highly toxic and flammable gas that interferes with cellular respiration, causing effects similar to those caused by carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, and therefore monitoring its existence during an air pollution incident is paramount. For this reason, included in each team’s portable monitoring equipment is a Jerome 631-XE hydrogen sulphide analyser supplied by ABLE Instruments & Controls.
With the push of a single button, the portable Jerome 631-XE hydrogen sulphide analyser displays low-level concentrations in seconds. It offers an analysis range of 0.003ppm-50ppm for odour and corrosion control, safety, and leak detection in such industries as wastewater treatment, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and farming.
This simple-to-use instrument weighs only 3kg, utilises an internal rechargeable battery pack or AC power, and is easily carried to suspected sources of hydrogen sulphide for detection and measurement. Locked in survey mode, the 631-XE automatically displays hydrogen sulphide concentrations as quickly as every 3s.
The Jerome 631-XE utilises a patented gold-film sensor. The sensor’s selectivity to hydrogen sulphide eliminates interferences from sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water vapours. When the sample button is pressed, an internal pump draws air into the instrument. Any hydrogen sulphide in the sample is adsorbed by the sensor, which registers a proportional change in electrical resistance. The hydrogen sulphide concentration is displayed on the LCD, where it remains until the next sample is taken.