know what's happening unless they tell us," said George Lossť,
president of the Claymont Coalition. "And when they do it still
takes several hours before the word gets around. By then it
could be too late."
his organization are advocating installation and use of a siren
which emits a sound distinctively different from that used by
the volunteer fire company. Its sounding would be a signal for
residents to turn on their radio to get the necessary
important for them to know to go inside and close the windows,
especially if they have asthma or emphysema," he said.
be possible to enlist local commercial radio stations to provide
the warnings but Lossť said it would be more effective -- and
official -- if Delaware Department of Transportation's highway
information frequency could be used to provide the service.
take some educating the people because there are not many who
even know about [the DelDOT station], but with all that has been
happening lately there's certainly enough interest that it
wouldn't take very long," he said. The DelDOT station is
at 1380 k.h.z. on the a.m. band.
stand now, he said, he is called at home by telephone about a
release, accident or other emergency by the company involved and
relays the information by telephone to leaders of civic
associations which belong to the coalition. It is up to them to
further spread the word.
not exactly what I'd call an efficient system," he said.
he added, what efficiency it has depends on whether he is called
and how soon in the course of the incident. Doing so is part of
corporate community relations policy.
On May 9,
when the Sun Co. refinery was forced to burn off acid gas, a
process which releases sulfur dioxide into the air, Nora Lossť,
George's wife, was first alerted to the situation by having
heard about it while monitoring the Claymont Fire Company radio.
George Lossť said that source of information will no longer be
available to the public when the fire company switches to use of
the state's emergency radio system. State and county police
already have made the change.
Lossť said that the state system could be indirectly helpful if
the tower to be erected for it within the planned new Woodshaven-Kruse
county park were made available as a location of the requested
the Sun flare to burn the gas has been at the nub of the area's
air pollution problem in recent weeks. Sun normally sells the
gas, a byproduct of its oil refining operation, to the adjacent
General Chemical Corp. plant which uses it to make sulfuric
acid. The most recent incident -- the third within a week -- was
May 13, when lightning struck the General Chemical facility.
Chemical is located in Delaware; the Sun refinery straddles the
"Years ago [the acid gas] was a
waste product which they just let go into the air," George Lossť
said. "In those days we didn't know anything about it or what it
could do to us."