Friday, August 2, 2013

PADEP releases information on its study of fracking air

The Department of Environmental Protection provided added information today about its long-term air monitoring study in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region.

A PADEP news release, announcing that its study will continue through the end of the year, was accompanied by a technical support document providing additional information about the study’s scope and process.

Aaron Kendeall, a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter writes:

"The study, which began in July 2012, was designed to track potential health risks associated with natural gas extraction, processing and transportation. The air quality assessment was originally scheduled to be completed last month.

"(DEP spokesman Kevin) Sunday said the extension was in part due to a delay in installing monitoring hardware at satellite sites and to allow more time for analyzing the data. The department hoped to release a final report next spring.

"The DEP released a “technical support document” Thursday that made public information about the study’s design, sampling criteria and analysis methods. According to the 60-page document, researchers are collecting data on the concentration of pollutants near shale-related sites in the Chartiers-Houston area.

“Washington County is a hotbed of Marcellus activity,” Sunday said. “Anything that could be going on with drilling is going on in Washington County – whether it’s compressor stations, pipelines or wet gas processing facilities.”

"Sampling equipment was placed in areas near the MarkWest Liberty Midstream Resources processing facility in Houston, which separates methane from other natural gas byproducts. Two other “satellite” sites were installed downwind of the plant, the Brigich study site about 2.2 miles southwest of the processing facility and the Stewart site 7 miles west. The sites will collect air samples and measure the level of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulfur oxides and volatile organic compounds."

See the full Observer-Reporter story here
PADEP news release

PADEP Marcellus Shale air study's technical support document

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