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  Characterization of Mercury Emissions at a Chlor-Alkali Plant (EPA/600/R-02/007) January 2002
Project Summary

Current estimates indicate that up to 160 short tons (146 megagrams) of mercury is consumed by the chlor-alkali industry each year. Very little quantitative information is currently available, however, on the actual mercury losses from these facilities. The mercury cell building roof vent is considered to be the most significant potential emission point in chlor-alkali plants, especially when the cells are opened for maintenance. Because of their potential importance, chlor-alkali plants need more accurate measurements of mercury emissions.

To obtain a better understanding of the fate of mercury within the manufacturing process, the Olin Corporation. voluntarily agreed to cooperate with EPA in a comprehensive study of the mercury emissions from their Augusta, Georgia, facility. Other members of the Chlorine Institute representing the active chlor-alkali plants in the United States also participated.

To investigate the mercury releases from the Olin chlor-alkali facility, EPA's Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, organized a special study involving many organizations and individuals. However, only the research conducted by the division involving roof vent monitoring and air flow studies conducted in the Olin cell building is discussed in this report.

The primary objective of monitoring the cell building roof vent was to determine the total elemental mercury mass flux from the cell building under a range of typical wintertime meteorological conditions, including both normal operation of the cell building and routine maintenance of mercury cells and decomposers. Secondary objectives included performing an air flow mass balance for the building and comparing various mercury monitoring methods under a variety of sampling conditions. Both objectives were met during the February 2000 field sampling campaign, which showed an average elemental mercury emission rate of 0.36 grams per minute from the roof ventilator as determined over the nine-day monitoring period.


John Kinsey

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