Public Meeting Sept. 25 On Gas Drilling/Air Quality

airqualityPotter County Natural Gas Resource Center will be hosting a presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 7-8 pm at the Gunzburger Building auditorium in Coudersport, titled, “Impacts of Shale Gas Production on Air Quality.” It will focus on studies conducted by Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the northcentral, northeast, and southwest regions of the state. The public is welcome. Speaker Nick Lazor is chief of DEP’s Air Quality Monitoring Division. He has 18 years of experience in the air quality field, including several years in air toxics monitoring. Lazor manages a staff of 32 and is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the state’s Ambient Air Monitoring Network.

Air pollution connected with gas exploration has been a concern since 2008, according to Lazor. In response, DEP launched a short-term, screening-level air-quality sampling initiative. “While this short-term sampling effort does not address the cumulative impact of air emissions, the results do provide basic information on the type of pollutants emitted to the atmosphere,” Lazor said. Among the key findings:

  • Concentrations of certain natural gas constituents (including methane, propane and butane, and associated compounds) were detected in the air near shale gas drilling operations.
  • Elevated methane levels were detected at compressor stations and well sites.
  • Certain compounds, mainly methyl mercaptan, were detected at levels which generally produce odors.
  • Results did not identify concentrations of any compound that would likely trigger air-related health issues.
  • Sampling for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone did not detect concentrations above National Ambient Air Quality Standards at any of the sites.

“The elevated methane results at the sampling sites would seem to confirm that the natural-gas production infrastructure in general — from well sites to condensate tank farms to compressor stations — is a source of pollutant emissions through fugitive and/or direct means,” the report stated.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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