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Earth Day Editorial: CIPP Buffalo Grove Rd Styrene Steam Odor, Incidents Nationwide Are Causes for Chemical Awareness

Wed April 22 2015 2:59 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=73733
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A staff member at the Buffalo Grove Police Department front desk knew nothing about a CIPP project involving styrene-tainted steam and suggested it was in Wheeling’s jurisdiction on April 2, 2015, while Insituform was lining sewers with a styrene resin beneath Buffalo Grove Road.

While many people celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree, promoting recycling, or cleaning up public outdoor parks and lakeshores; there is an increasing importance for communities to take time to reflect and understand the hazards and risks of hazardous materials. Communities and their fire departments may experience a wide range of hazardous materials incidents ranging from Carbon Monoxide in the home, to chemical spills from trucks, to railroad car spills, industrial fires, industrial leaks, construction accidents, fires involving hazardous materials burning, and even terrorism. Increasingly, fire departments are called on to resolve hazardous materials incidents.

Every citizen should demand real-time awareness and full-disclosure of incidents or projects that could be potentially dangerous. Village governments, fire departments, and/or police departments have a responsibility to notify citizens to the best of their ability with full disclosure.

Recently, a project on Buffalo Grove Road that bordered Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove and Wheeling involved the lining of sewer lines with a styrene resin — a process known as CIPP or Cured-In-Place Pipe. The process is a much less expensive process than ripping up sewer lines and installing new sewer lines, so it is highly beneficial to communities with aging and deteriorated sewer lines. Although Arlington Heights was not directly involved in the Buffalo Grove Road project, an article was posted on the official Village of Arlington Heights website that described the process, including a brief mention about the chemical styrene, because homes in Arlington Heights bordered the location of the project.

A chemical called “styrene” is used in the resin and can emit a strong odor that smells like new plastic. It is possible that residents may notice this odor as work is being done. The release of styrene during the typical sewer rehabilitation process does not pose a significant risk to human health or the surrounding environment.

— Village of Arlington Heights

Coincidentally, Arlington, Virginia also is working on a CIPP sewer projects and described more details about styrene. After prefacing that styrene is very common — even in strawberries — the Arlington, Virginia notice mentioned the potential risks of styrene at different concentrations, and offered methods to reduce exposure.

Styrene is a clear, colorless liquid that’s a component of materials used to make thousands of everyday products for home, school, work and play. Styrene is used in everything from food containers and packaging materials to cars, boats, computers, and video games. Derived from petroleum and natural gas by-products, styrene helps create thousands of remarkably strong, flexible and light-weight products, representing a vital part of the U.S. economy and quality of life.

The styrene used in these products is manufactured synthetically in petrochemical plants. However, styrene also occurs naturally in the environment and is present in many common foods, such as coffee, strawberries, and cinnamon.

Is styrene harmful to my health?

There have been varying reports/studies in regards to the potential risks of styrene at different concentration levels. In general, exposure to styrene for long periods of time may cause nausea, eye and respiratory irritation, headache, etc. This usually goes away with exposure to fresh air.

What can I do to reduce my exposure to styrene?

To prevent styrene gases from entering your home, pour water into your drains the night before or early morning the day the work is scheduled to be performed.

Styrene gases don’t remain in the air for long periods of time, so if styrene gas has entered the home, we recommend opening all your windows and allow fresh air to circulate inside and/or leaving for a few hours.

— Arlington, Virginia

Neither local government mentioned that styrene is considered a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” in a government report identifying substances that potentially put people at increased risk for cancer. Workers exposed to styrene in its reactive form during production are at the highest risk for adverse health effects, while consumers exposed to plastics and other substances made from styrene face a low risk, said Peter Orris, professor and chief of occupational medicine at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. “When the materials are solidified — unless you grind them up and put them in the air — you won’t have much of a problem with them,” Orris told Bloomberg News in May 2013. “The risks for firefighters and disposal workers who might be exposed to smoke from burning styrene products is less clear,” he added. Orris was involved in a legal case in support of the government when the Styrene Information and Research Center Inc. sued the Department of Health and Human Service regarding the labeling of styrene as a carcinogen. The Styrene industry organization didn’t want styrene listed as a carcinogen. The organization was opposing the government’s right to inform workers of risks.

The carcinogen report is an authoritative document that labor advocates can reference in talks with employers to ensure that workers are protected. Occupational safeguards include leak controls so styrene does not escape pipes or reactors, proper venting for any fumes that might be released when reactors are opened, and adequate protective equipment for maintenance workers.

According to the EPA, several epidemiologic studies suggest that there may be an association between styrene exposure and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma. However, the evidence is inconclusive due to multiple chemical exposures and inadequate information on the levels and duration of exposure.

The inclusion of styrene on the government report on carcinogens, in addition to OSHA’s hazard communication standard ensures that workers are told that the material is a carcinogen. But what about bystanders or passersby that might be exposed to venting styrene steam?

During the CIPP process, motorists in their vehicles on southbound Buffalo Grove Road were permitted to drive in the lane next to the right lane, which was closed for the CIPP process where trucks were parked and the machine with steam exhaust was parked. The styrene odor associated with the steam permeated the interior of passing vehicles in both directions of Buffalo Grove Road. If traffic had stalled in either direction, a motorist or motorists could have been stuck right next to the machine that was exhausting steam containing styrene – an exposure that would be undesirable. The exposure would likely cause the nausea, eye and respiratory irritation, headache, etc that the Arlington, Virginia notice mentioned, but may even increase the motorist’s risk of cancer. Acute non-cancer effects and symptoms could cause disorientation and anxiety, and ultimately a crash involving exposed motorists in a traffic situation.

Non-Cancer Effects of Styrene Exposure
ACUTE
Acute exposure to styrene in humans results in respiratory effects, such as mucous membrane irritation, eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects.

CHRONIC
Chronic exposure to styrene in humans results in effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS), with symptoms such as headache, fatigue, weakness, depression, CNS dysfunction (reaction time, memory, visuomotor speed and accuracy, intellectual function), and hearing loss, peripheral neuropathy, minor effects on some kidney enzyme functions and on the blood.

— EPA

In 2008 an accidental leak affected a neighborhood during a Harvard University construction project. On August 1, employees from Turner Construction, which was building Harvard’s 589,000-square-foot science complex, caused a leak while relining a 300-foot portion of a deteriorated brick-lined sewer pipe.

About 4:00 a.m., construction crews were pumping near-boiling water into the pipe to set the lining, when visible plumes of styrene-contaminated water vapor started to shoot out of a manhole at another street nearby. The construction company was given a cease and desist order until prevention of a recurrence was assured.

In September 2010, neighbors in a Lorain County lake community in Ohio said they became nauseated or dizzy from an overpowering chemical smell coming from their toilets or floor drains. The odor began the same day Insituform Technologies contractors working on a $3.2 million Lorain County sewer project began to reline old sewer pipes. They were using the styrene plastic product that is steam-heated as it is installed.

Lorain County Residents’ Experience Near CIPP …

“I went in the bathroom and the pressure had shot up water out of the toilet — and the smell just about knocked you over,” “I couldn’t breathe right and got a headache from it.”

— Al Andrews, age 83

Because of the overpowering odor, my husband and I “turned right around and went to a hotel. I am already sensitive to chemicals, but when I walked in, I was repulsed. I felt confused, groggy, like I was drunk or slurring my speech.”

— Karen Johnson

The process of lining the sewers is difficult work with serious risks to employees and would-be rescuers in confined spaces. In July 2002 in Des Moines, Iowa, two workers died in a sewer pipe after being overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes (not styrene) and collapsing facedown in sewage. Five other workers for Insituform Technologies Inc. were overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes during a failed rescue attempt. Iowa OSHA investigators found 11 willful and nine serious violations and fined the company $808,250. After an appeal by Insituform, the penalty was reduced to $733,750.

The repair of sewers is an important, necessary project, but it is important that residents, public works staff working near a CIPP project, and firefighters who could be called to a confined-space rescue or other hazmat incident be fully aware of the risks associated with the CIPP project. Residents should be fully aware of chemicals to prevent potential exposure to a carcinogen. Full awareness to chemical risks also allows those with chemical sensitivities to avoid areas of these projects and take special precautions.

Full posts from Arlington Heights, Illinois and Arlington, Virginia below …

Arlington Heights, Illinois Information on Sanitary Sewer Relining

Buffalo Grove Road Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation
MARCH 25, 2015

A Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) sewer project is being managed by the Village of Buffalo Grove for rehabilitation work along Buffalo Grove Road, which will affect traffic in that immediate area for the next two weeks

This innovative process will be utilized to reconstruct certain sections of badly deteriorated sewer. This reconstruction will be done without time consuming, expensive and disruptive excavation. Instead of digging up and replacing the old pipeline, the cured-in-place process provides for the insertion of a special lining inside the pipe, creating a new smooth-surfaced, long-lasting pipe within the old sewer.

Normally each section of sewer to be reconstructed will require a 12 to 24 hour period to complete. During rehabilitation of each segment, the sanitary flows will be bypassed above ground through various pipes. Where the pipes cross the streets, specially designed ramps about the size of a speed bump will be put in place. Please use caution, but it is okay to drive over these ramps where indicated. In addition, please keep in mind that unlike other CIPP projects, in this case neither your home’s sewer nor water service will be affected. This notice is simply to inform you of the construction activities along Buffalo Grove Road.

The sewer lines are rehabilitated by a resin-insulated felt tube that hardens into a strong “pipe within a pipe”. A chemical called “styrene” is used in the resin and can emit a strong odor that smells like new plastic. It is possible that residents may notice this odor as work is being done. The release of styrene during the typical sewer rehabilitation process does not pose a significant risk to human health or the surrounding environment.

The Village of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and Insituform Technologies appreciate your cooperation, and apologize in advance for any inconveniences caused to you during this work period. If you should have any questions regarding the work schedule, specific work details, or how this work directly affects you, please feel free to call Mike Figlio of Insituform at 708-326-5105. Other questions can be directed to Jeff Musinski of the Arlington Heights Public Works Department at 847-368-5800.

+ + + END VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS NOTICE + + +

Arlington, Virginia Information on Sanitary Sewer Relining

Sanitary Sewer Relining

Why Is the County Relining the Sanitary Sewer Line Connected to My Residence?

A television inspection of the sanitary sewer line connected to your residence indicated that it needs to be rehabilitated. Reasons for rehabilitating the pipe may include:

Old age
Cracks
Holes
Sagging
Roots
Ground water infiltration
The types of existing pipes that we usually reline in this process are vitrified clay (VCP) and concrete pipes (RCP). Sewer relining is a quick and economical process in lieu of replacing pipes by open excavation. This process prevents major traffic disruptions and health hazards from potential exposure to raw sewage.

Cured-In-Place Pipe Process

Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) is a trenchless rehabilitation process used to repair existing pipelines using a resin (styrene) saturated felt tube.

Cleaning and Inspection: Prior to lining the existing sewer, crews clean the pipe using high pressure water hoses and video cameras to inspect the pipe condition.
Pipe Lining: Crews place a flexible liner into the existing sewer. Steam or heated water is forced into the liner, pushing the liner tightly against the existing sewer walls. The heat causes the liner material to cure, creating a new pipe within the existing sewer that is free of cracks and holes. Crews then use pumps and hoses to re-route sewer flows, ensuring sanitary service to customers.
Reinstating Laterals: Crews cut open the existing lateral pipes serving each home, using a remote operated cutter and video camera.

Lateral Connection Sealing: Another contractor may inject grout to completely seal the connection and ensure no infiltration reoccurs.
The actual pipe lining process typically takes less than one day to complete. This can depend on the size of the pipe.

Benefits of CIPP

Allows for pipes to be rehabilitated without disturbing the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.
Less expensive than replacing the pipe.
Allows for an increased sewer flow capacity.
The process has a 50-year design life.
Process is completed in one to three days.
How Will I Be Affected?

Residents may see activities related to the sewer relining for several weeks leading up to the actual lining. These activities include:

Assessment of flow conditions within the main sanitary sewer using remote controlled video cameras.
Cleaning and inspecting the main sanitary sewer prior and after the sewer lining process is completed.
Dye testing to confirm connections between buildings and sewers.
On the day of the work, we’ll turn off the water service to the residence between 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. This is to prevent involuntary sewage backup into your home. In some cases, the work may have to be performed between 10 p.m.-5 a.m., usually if the sewer line is located within a business corridor or major arterial street (like Columbia Pike or Washington Boulevard). Residents may also experience loud noise from the equipment, unpleasant odor from the liner and parking restrictions.

Any unused/dry drains that connect to the sanitary sewer system should be filled with water to prevent sewer gases from entering the residence. These drains include:

Floor drains. Most residential basements have one or more floor drains, usually near the water heater, washer/dryer and A/C unit.
Unused bath tubs, showers, sinks, etc. You may want to pour water in these fixtures because lack of use may have caused the drains to dry out overtime.
Sump pump. Found in residential basements, sump pumps have a motor that turns on when the water table is above the foundation of the home. In some cases, older sump pumps are connected to the sanitary sewer system, therefore if your sump pump has not been running for awhile, it is a good idea to pour water into the pit to allow the sump pump to run. Find out more information about sump pumps.
If you’re not sure if you have floor drains or a sump pump, contact AM-Liner East’s representative, Tim Reagin, at 571-221-9220.

Styrene

Styrene is a clear, colorless liquid that’s a component of materials used to make thousands of everyday products for home, school, work and play. Styrene is used in everything from food containers and packaging materials to cars, boats, computers, and video games. Derived from petroleum and natural gas by-products, styrene helps create thousands of remarkably strong, flexible and light-weight products, representing a vital part of the U.S. economy and quality of life.

The styrene used in these products is manufactured synthetically in petrochemical plants. However, styrene also occurs naturally in the environment and is present in many common foods, such as coffee, strawberries, and cinnamon.

Is styrene harmful to my health?

There have been varying reports/studies in regards to the potential risks of styrene at different concentration levels. In general, exposure to styrene for long periods of time may cause nausea, eye and respiratory irritation, headache, etc. This usually goes away with exposure to fresh air.

What can I do to reduce my exposure to styrene?

To prevent styrene gases from entering your home, pour water into your drains the night before or early morning the day the work is scheduled to be performed.

Styrene gases don’t remain in the air for long periods of time, so if styrene gas has entered the home, we recommend opening all your windows and allow fresh air to circulate inside and/or leaving for a few hours.

For more information on styrene, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

+ + + END ARLINGTON VIRGINIA NOTICE + + +

See also …
EPA Styrene — epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/styrene.html

Bloomberg News Styrene Can Be Listed as Carcinogen On Government Report, Federal Judge Rules

The Harvard Crimson Toxic Release Prompts Allston Residents To Question Risks of Harvard Construction

Cleveland.com Some in Lorain County lake community complain of chemical odors from sewer rehab work

topix “Trenchless Styrene, Cured-In-Place Pipe, Styrene odor, Styrene Fumes” forum

+ + + + +
About the Author
Mark D. Bostrom is a recipient of the Chemical Rubber Company’s Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award for ranking first in freshman college chemistry, is a former Advanced Cardiac Life Support-trained EMT/Paramedic, fire dispatcher, and received a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology with extra studies in Human Factors, Ergonomics and Safety Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Currently the author publishes breaking news, local news, and global news — especially regarding public safety reporting.

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