(VI Consortium) The government of the Virgin Islands, which has been receiving support from the V.I. National Guard Civil Support Team, the V.I. Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency said late Saturday that VING’s Civil Support Team had detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide gas near Limetree Bay.
But the company Sunday morning contradicted the government’s report, stating that its own tests found zero sulfur dioxide gas. “In response to community concerns and to support efforts by the U.S. Virgin Islands Government to identify the source of recent odor complaints, industrial hygiene specialists at Limetree Bay conducted air monitoring beginning Friday and continuing through Saturday evening at five locations immediately to the West and Northwest of the refinery. This air monitoring detected zero concentration of hydrogen sulfide, zero concentration of sulfur dioxide and zero concentration of hydrocarbons. The results of this monitoring have been shared with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources,” said Limetree in a statement.
High concentrations of SO2 can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system, especially during heavy physical activity. The resulting symptoms can include pain when taking a deep breath, coughing, throat irritation, and breathing difficulties.