Beaver County residents share concerns over opening of Shell plant

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — It’s hard to miss the large Shell plant off the Beaver Valley Expressway. After years of construction, signs are there that opening day is just weeks away, but it won’t come without some residential concerns.

“The light pollution — because it is running 24 hours a day and it is very bright and some of the noise pollution; there’s a low-level whirling now that things are getting up and running,” said Beaver resident Izzy Soriano-Clark.

Soriano-Clark said she worries about the impact and that it’s hard to predict what may happen.

“I feel like the rivers are pretty clean and the air is pretty clean,” Soriano-Clark said.

Finding out the exact health of the environment right now is where Pitt researchers come into play.

“Beaver County has higher rates of mortality from cardiovascular disease and respiratory and Alzheimer’s and diabetes — between 10 to 15 percent greater than what one sees in Pennsylvania on average,” said Dr. James Fabisiak, director of the Center of Healthy Environments and Communities at Pitt.

Without a county health department, no one is asking the necessary questions.

“Some is the perception of the environment like, ‘Do you feel air pollution has adversely affected your health?’,” Dr. Fabisiak said.

It’s all part of a survey for Beaver County residents to create a baseline so researchers know what the current health of the community is before more industry moves into the area and opens up.

“I think it’s a great thing having a baseline to be able to compare and contrast to down the line is a really good thing. I think it’s important to have a solid understanding of where we are starting,” Soriano-Clark said.

In order to get that data, Pitt researchers need 600 Beaver County residents to complete the survey. All it takes is reaching out to bchealth@pitt.edu in order to get the link to the survey and answering just a few questions.

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