Thursday, March 4, 2010

UPDATE; Reporting any odors or air quality concerns to the TCEQ

Some have voiced some frustrations with reporting to the TCEQ. Here are a few points about reporting.

Please do not get frustrated with the TCEQ investigators. Many of them are just "information takers" . Some are very knowledgeable and some are not. You may receive phone calls from the TCEQ asking if your complaint was addressed. You may need to give the details more than once. Your patience will be needed. We think the TCEQ is trying to do the right thing.

If they ask any questions about wind or temperature, just try to be as accurate as possible. Example: Say the wind was blowing from the direction of the drilling. That is an acceptable answer.

If they ask who you want to make the complaint against, say who you think is responsible. Even if you do not have proof. They may ask this question but it will ultimately be there job to figure that out.

If you are not satisfied with the report, do not hesitate to call their supervisor. The most important thing is that the report gets filed.

Down the road, the number of complaints may be very important.

After the news of high methane levels in the Barnett Shale air, reporting any odors or health symptoms related to any chemicals around and near gas drilling production sites is important.

The TCEQ has a new 12 hour response policy. Last night there was a complaint made because of odor near the area of 1171 and Scenic Rd. in Flower Mound. If you want the TCEQ to take notice, report anything and everything.

Wima Subra put together a list of health effects from chemicals found near gas drilling. Methane, by itself, does not have an odor but last night it was mentioned that where there is methane, there are usually other chemicals.

Here are the symptoms of methane exposure

  • Exposure to high levels of methane gas depletes the oxygen level in the body, causing difficulty in breathing and suffocation.
  • If the oxygen level in the body depletes to anything less than 12%, it can cause unconsciousness and also prove to be lethal in some cases.
  • Since the levels of oxygen in the body depletes, the body tries to make it up by using the oxygen contained in the bodily fluids. This basically leads to dehydration.
  • Nausea and vomiting are also methane gas poisoning symptoms. There are chances that a person can collapse due to the exposure to methane gas.
  • Headaches are also caused by methane gas exposure. This sign was also observed in the school in Texas, where a methane gas blast killed about 300 students and faculty members.
  • Another symptom of methane gas exposure is heart palpitations. It causes an uncomfortable sensation of the heart beating rapidly, abnormally and out of sequence.
  • Due to the depletion of oxygen in the body, methane gas exposure gives rise to cognitive problems. The person is inattentive, has memory loss and also poor judgment. These symptoms aggravate, when the exposure to this gas is more.
  • Exposure to methane gas also causes dizziness and blurred vision. This symptom reduces, when the person moves away from the area that is high in methane gas concentration.
  • Methane gas exposure also causes lack of motor coordination. Even in the most familiar surroundings, the person will knock around things. There are chances, that the person will drop things he has picked up, more often.
  • Some patients of methane gas exposure also display flu like symptoms. The patient may also experience mental uneasiness and lethargy.

    Click here to make a complaint to the TCEQ.


Anonymous said...

I live near Witchita and Skillern. It smells today. I sent TCEQ a complaint. It seems so unscientific to go by smells. All I know is I went for a 2 mile run and the whole time detected a smell. If you even a little think you smell something - report it. We need to wake up TCEQ.

Another Concerned Citizen said...

Good, we received information that TCEQ was out at the site this morning. So they will come out quickly. If you smell it again tonight, report it. The crew that was out there testing last night was overwhelmed by the odor. It seems stronger at night. Keep complaining and the TCEQ will keep doing testing.

Anonymous said...

When I was gone 2 18-20 year olds from TCEQ left a chart of some kind for me to fill out and an afffidavit to have notarized. Not very scientific I catagorize the smell as offensive, unpleasant or not unpleasant (I don't get that not unpleasant one) and as very light, light, moderate, strong or very strong. This is stupid. I thought they would actually do a test or something. So what, this is probably kept on file and nothing comes of it while we die breathing.

Anonymous said...

You might want to pass it along that it is a felony crime to make a false affidavit to the TCEQ. I think when they figure out they are being played, they won't be so quick to come out. It's a shame, some people who might actually need their help will suffer because others are abusing the system.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that some of the TCEQ employees will take the information and then an inspector/supervisor comes out to do the testing.

Sherry said...

I will tell you that I have smelled odors before but never even thought it could be the gas drilling. Why? Beecause we have been told that the air here in Flower Mound was fine. Not just once but twice now. Then this study shows that methane is high in the area. Also, that other chemicals can be present where there is methane. Now when I smell something, I won't just shrug it off, I'll report it.

Anonymous said...

Also, you can't smell Natural Gas,aka methane, it's odorless, and tasteless, as much rain as we have had, you could be smelling raw sewage that has leaked out because of the high water levels.

Anonymous said...

Yes methane does not have odor but Carbon Disilfide, Toluene, Benzene etc. do have odors and are usually present when there is methane.
I suggest that many of us, read up on the different odors of chemicals associated with gas drilling so you are aware. The fact that there was an emissions event that Williams didn't report if scary. How many other things have they not reported? Just like when they admitted that the compression station had a leak last year. By their admisstion, they only check every 6 months. Not sure if we can even believe that.

Anonymous said...

Remember in one of the Town council meeting last month the Shiloh gas lease residents relentlessly spoke how good Williams are.Greed can do anything !!

TXsharon said...

The TCEQ is doing a great job of responding to the odor complaints. Many people have obtained some good data including high levels of benzene and other toxins.

The odor log is purposely simple. Just fill it out as best as you can. The investigators will bring a TVA monitor or another piece of equipment to measure the VOCs. If the reading is high enough they will test with a summa canister.

You should call every time you detect an odor that could be associated with natural gas but please do not make false calls.

Anonymous said...

I still don't see the point for me. I wasn't home when they left the log. By the time I fill it out and get the affidavit notarized and mail it to them it will be several days later and the possible emission on that caused the oder I smelled yesterday may be gone. In fact today the wind is from another direction so if they test today (or day with similar wind) then their test won't show anything from where I smelled it. They needed to test yesterday when they left this log.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:05. Totally get your frustration. Not really sure how to go about complaining about the procedure but I would start with their supervisor. I think you said they gave you his/her name. But I would not let this stop anyone from reporting something. I am not making excuses for TCEQ but this is a new policy and they might not be up to par on how to implement this new policy.