The EPA-approved “bucket" is a simple, easy-to-use tool fenceline neighbors can operate to take air samples. The data produced from these samples is just as good as monitoring data from the EPA or LDEQ and captures emissions from within the communities most affected. This is a powerful experience for community members who are used to being ignored, overlooked and disrespected by corporations and government.
Dorothy Jenkins, President of Concerned Citizens of New Sarpy, used to call the refinery to complain about odors. An operator would tell her not to worry, that the black plume of smoke billowing for hours near her home was not harmful. Then, Jenkins got an air sample bucket. Now, when refinery managers and government regulators tell her there is nothing to worry about, she answers: "Why, then, was there a benzene reading of 14 in my air sample – a reading that violates the state standards?" The bucket, coupled with participatory training on the chemicals emitted at refineries, as well as state and federal regulations for those emissions, gives community members power to hold institutions accountable to provide a safe and healthy environment.
We train community members to conduct hot spot monitoring with the bucket. They monitor when there is a visible problem in the neighborhood, when they fear they are most at risk of chemical exposure.