NETL's mobile air monitoring laboratory was deployed to a Marcellus Shale well pad in Greene County, PA, to collect measurements of pollutant concentrations before and during hydraulic fracturing. A comparison of pollutants associated with natural gas operations with concentrations of the pollutants measured during the various phases of hydrofracturing operations enabled an evaluation of the impact the activities had on local air quality. Instruments in the laboratory measured the ambient concentrations of methane, carbon dioxide, carbon isotopes in methane and carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, organic and elemental carbon aerosols, as well as several meteorological parameters. Monitoring commenced on March 8, 2012 and ended on June 19, 2012. During periods of low or no activity on the well pad, measured pollutants registered typical atmospheric background values with few exceptions. Significant increases in concentrations of methane, NOx, PM10, and several VOCs were observed during the two hydraulic fracturing operations. Preliminary results from this project suggest that although measurements did not at any time exceed applicable exposure limits or air quality standards, there were discernible differences in measurements collected during the various phases of operation at the well pad.
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