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.