To add insult to an already deeply injured neighborhood, Williams has installed a flare at their Argyle Gas Processing Plant. The flare is to burn off the H2S gas before it goes into the pipeline.
I’ve been paying very close attention and I’m sure we’ve been told repeatedly that there is no H2S gas in the Barnett Shale. Now, I guess the H2S is out of the Barnett Shale closet.
Molly Wentworth asked me to answer your question. The 24 ppm limit of H2S you mentioned is the concentration in the gas stream heading for the flare. As long as the concentration is at or below 24 ppm H2S in this gas stream, [Could I interrupt here to ask: Who is measuring how much H2S is in the gas stream?] then the company qualifies for the permit by rule (PBR). When the stream is burned in the flare, then the H2S concentration is decreased substantially. In addition, the ground-level concentration of H2S would be even lower due to dilution in the air before it gets to ground level. The ground level concentration of H2S onsite (where workers would be exposed) and off-site (exposure to residents) would be below levels that would produce harmful health effects. The concentration of H2S onsite must meet the OSHA regulatory standards of 20 ppm (short-term 15-min time period) or 50 ppm (for 10 min once per 8-hr shift). The concentration of H2S offsite must meet the state standard of 0.08 ppm protective of residents.
Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thank you, Roberta Grant
Roberta L. Grant, Ph.D. | Manager | Toxicology Section | TCEQ
Look at the picture above and notice how short the flare is. I spoke with an air quality scientist about it and the first question he ask was, “How high is the flare. The height makes a lot of difference in exposure for the residents because the higher the flare the more easily the toxins will be carried off by the wind.”
Now look at this other flare in the picture from the DRC article “Cars not only culprit for smog.” That flare must be twice the height of the one in Argyle. Shorter flares are less visible from long distance so maybe Williams is hoping no one will know it’s there, except for the people who live only a few feet away.
From the article:
In addition to the intense level of activity in basic well operations, drillers will vent (leak) or flare (burn) gas at the site. These practices release a host of compounds, including hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds and other hydrocarbons, according to Jim Rada, of the Garfield County Health Department in Colorado, who is studying drilling emissions there.
Flaring causes serious air pollution and has caused acid rain in Nigeria. “Towards Zero Flaring” a study of flaring by Schlumberger,
This causes many forms of pollution–noise, toxic gases, soot, acid rain and the production of carbon dioxide, the latter is one of the primary causes of global warming.
So you can see how close this gas processing plant is to the neighbors, below is a picture taken in a friend’s backyard.
And here is a picture looking over the fence at a small portion of the plant.
Mothers in Argyle, afraid to expose their children to these emissions, are sending them away for extended visits with friends and family.
About Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.
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This is insane. All sorts of holes can be blown through what they are saying about "this being safe for residents." Where is their 24/7 monitor?
The WCEQ statement of H2S concentration (24ppm) is at STP. However the definition of sour gas in the WCEQ rules is something like 1.5 grains/100 ft3. This definition is clearly a function of what pressure the gas it at! So, as usual the WCEQ lies about their own defintions of sour gas. It is true that most barnett shale gas is sour as a crock of Texas pickles!! The gas in Big Booger County is especially sour, sour, sour!
Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe says
What is STP?
Elizabeth Burns says
This is going to sound horrible…. but these people should move. It's not right or fair, but they need to get out of there. They are just going to get sick if they stay. The courts and RRC are pretty useless and there is not much else in the way of recourse. The company does not care if you stay or go. They do not care if you get sick and die. It's a corporation that is making money. That is what it does. It makes no difference to them if you stay or go. You should go because it makes a difference to you and you should be happy an healthy. If you stay, you will be miserable and be reminded of the injustice of it all daily.
Kim Feil says
The article also mentions that nine years ago a gas well blowout at the Chuandongbei gas field in Kaixian County in Chongqing, also operated by CNPC, claimed 243 lives and hospitalized thousands. http://www.drillingahead.com/page/china-gas-well-explosion-1-missing-4-injured
kim Feil says
So if flares are not allowed in urban drilling (unless special permission is granted by the RRC), then they are venting….and if they are not misting with the Hercules product (diethanolamine which requires a respirator & is highly reactive to C02 ) and since Hercules was not on the Truman/Cowboy Stadium MSDS sheets or fracfocus)….then if we smell rotten eggs, we are smelling H2S allowed to vent, and they elected to not use Hercules….hmmn