Thursday, July 2, 2009

Citizens Complain About "Bad Odor"

This letter was forwarded to me.

It is in response to bad odors being detected coming from the Cotton Belt Compression Station in the triangle of 635, 121, and 114. DFW Environmental Affairs Department responded to complaints and did testing. They are doing their best to regulate and keep their eye on this common problem. Is it enough? Maybe for DFW airport but not for most North Texans.

This will continue to be a concern as gas drilling gets closer to urban areas. DFW has the money and resources to try to regulate this common problem. Average citizens like us do not. Rural areas of North Texas have been dealing with the problems like this and many others for many years. When this happens in our neighborhoods, it will be more difficult to detect and regulate. Health and safety will be an issue with gas drilling getting closer to highly populated areas and schools. Gas wells are not the only issue with gas drilling. Where there is gas drilling, a compression station and gas gathering pipelines are not far away.

This is good example of why there needs to be better regulation. Texas is in need of a better regulation system. As stated in previous posts, contact the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project. They are forming a chapter in Texas. Great progress has been made by lobbying for bills to protect the citizens, air and water in New Mexico and Colorado. They need support to be ready for the next Legislative Session. Many bills were presented to make it easier on Gas and Oil this session and they didn't pass. Gas and Oil will be pushing even harder now. The Gas and Oil industry spent over 44.5 million in the first 3 months of 2009 lobbying Congress and other federal agencies for their industry. $129 million was spent in 2008. Oil and Gas Accountability Project was able to make a difference. Link is below.

This summary of DFW Environmental Affairs Department [EAD] recent response actions to odor complaints associate with Chesapeake Energy natural gas mining project being conducted at DFW Airport provides you an update of DFW Environmental Affair’s efforts to identify and reduce sources of odors and provides you a copy of air grab sample laboratory results for your edification.

EAD staff have confirmed natural gas odors emanating from the Cottonbelt Compressor Station consistent with recent 3rd party complaints. EAD collected air grab samples from the compressor station pad on two occasions to determine the constituents and concentrations of contaminants of concern that may be associated with these presenting natural gas process related odors. EAD concerns were shared with Chesapeake Energy site operations personnel as well as Chesapeake's Fort Worth office project manager. A subsequent site meeting confirmed that odors were emanating from both the glycol and BTEX process treatment units. In response to EAD and Chesapeake Energy operations personnel discussions, Chesapeake Energy enacted a reconfiguring of process piping in an effort to mitigate the odorous fugitive emissions. In response to a subsequent complaint from nearby residents, EAD conducted a second round of air sampling at the suspect Cottonbelt Compressor Station. Laboratory analysis [attached pdf files] indicated the presence of very low concentrations of some of the same constituents evident in the first round of air grab samples.

"One sample approached but did not exceed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Effects Screening Level (ESL) for benzene. This ESL is not a regulated limit"
Benzene is a known carcinogen.

None of the resultant emission concentration levels are considered by OSHA or NIOSH as a worker safety concern. One sample approached, but did not exceed, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ] Effects Screening Level (ESL) for benzene. This ESL is not a regulated limit. We are committed to reducing sources of emissions even in the absence of compelled regulatory drivers. EAD is also responsive to a TCEQ enforced Nuisance Odor Rule in the interest of mitigating odors generated by sources located on Airport.

This is a common problem with compression stations (as confirmed by the EAD staff to be a common problem in the Oil & Gas Industry and stated below). But we all know gas companies are not forth coming about incidents like this.

DFW Airport’s Board of Directors, executive and senior management team is committed to beyond compliance environmental stewardship Airport-wide. DFW’s Environmental Management System (EMS) provides an umbrella of environmental compliance, and beyond compliance response action policies, procedures, monitoring and verification protocols applicable to DFW Board, tenant and contractor activities across the board. Chesapeake’s Fort Worth based project manager has stated that Chesapeake is working to eliminate the odor sources to the extent possible. EAD staff have been assured by Chesapeake Energy that Chesapeake has the capability and resources to effectively address sources of fugitive emissions. EAD staff research confirmed that compressor station emissions are a common problem throughout the oil & gas industry; and that there are mitigation measures available to reduce industry related sources of emissions.

"EAD will continue to press Chesapeake to further identify and mitigate fugitive emissions etc. etc." It would be more comforting if it were possible to demand it or no drilling but unfortunately for all of us, that isn't how it works. BETTER REGULATION IS NEEDED!

I hope you find this summary of efforts in progress and laboratory results helpful. EAD will continue to press Chesapeake to further identify and mitigate fugitive emissions going-forward and to deploy effective odor mitigation technology and best management practices. Please let me know if you require additional information or clarification at this time.

Dan Bergman, M.S., J.D.,
Vice President Environmental Affairs

1 comment:

MYtoeSPACEpillow said...

So now we have a deceased paster in Grapevine and it pains me to have to read this in researching the church and his home's proximity to the compression station.