DEP Finds no Health Concerns with Air in Northeast Pennyslvania

by Nicole Good on February 2, 2011

An air monitoring study by Pennsylvania’s DEP concluded that emissions from Marcellus Shale natural gas operations in Northeast Pennsylvania do not pose a risk to human health in the short term.  Potential cumulative impacts, like a lifetime cancer risk analysis, require a long-term study of at least one year.

The study was conducted at four drilling sites in Susquehanna county from August to October.  Found in samples were the basic components of natural gas: methane, butane, propane, ethane, as well as CO, the gasoline additive methy tertiary butyl ether, and the odor-producing compound methyl mercaptan.

A similar study was conducted in North Central Pennsylvania’s Washington and Greene counties. Those results are currently being analyzed.

Find the full report on the PA DEP website here…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Duane G. Nichols February 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Nicole. I found the following conclusion of interest:
“Sampling for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone, did not detect concentrations above National Ambient Air Quality Standards at any of the sampling sites. However, the Department is unable to determine
at this time whether the potential cumulative emissions of criteria pollutants from natural gas exploration activities will result in violations of the health and welfare-based federal standards.”

Further, the emissions of methane were high but no estimates of the totals were provided. Methane escapes
from drilling operations, from blowback water withdrawals,
from storage tanks, and from compressor stations. Wow!


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