Two Years of Continuous Data Collected During All Phases of Unconventional Shale Development Near School Campus
A first-of-its kind public health and long-term ambient air monitoring report provides analysis from nearly two years of continuous data from an unconventional Marcellus Shale well site nearby a high school and elementary school campus. The project, titled – Public Health Evaluation of Ambient Air Near a Shale Gas Well Site and School Campus – monitored air quality through the full development cycle of a six well pad – from pad construction, through each phase of operation, and even more than a year of production of natural gas and natural gas liquids – which had never been done before.
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This first-of-its-kind report done by an independent, third-party, evaluates nearly two years of data as it relates to air quality and public health, concluding that regional natural gas operations “do not pose any acute or chronic health concerns” and that the data “showed no air quality impacts of potential health concern.
- This air quality and public health evaluation showed that measured PM2.5 and VOC concentrations were consistently below health-based air comparison values and do not pose acute or chronic health concerns.
- The data for the air monitoring sites located between the Yonker well site and the Fort Cherry School District campus showed no air quality impacts of potential health concern at the campus associated with Yonker well site.
- The measured PM2.5 and VOC concentrations do not provide evidence of elevated long-term average concentrations in comparison to other DEP regional data in Washington County that are further from natural gas development.
- The measured concentrations reflect the cumulative contributions of both air emissions from the Yonker well site as well as from other local and regional air emission sources such as dozens of other natural gas well sites, and include concentrations during all phases of well pad construction and operation.
Nationally recognized scientists and experts from Massachusetts-based Gradient Corporation, an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm, spent more than six months analyzing the robust data and developing this significant report.
Air quality effects of our operations have long been a priority, and we monitored a well site near a school campus to verify that our engineering designs and operations were conducted to minimize impacts and to be transparent and responsive to students, parents, and those in the community. This third-party expert analysis aligns with other reports conducted by regulatory agencies and the school district, all of which have definitively shown that natural gas development does not create any chronic or acute health concerns.
Researchers collected data utilizing three monitoring locations within varying proximities to Range’s Yonker well site in Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania – the same township in which Range Resources pioneered the Marcellus Shale in 2004. These third-party experts continuously collected data utilizing practices recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which includes monitoring for PM2.5 and 58 Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) species.
The objective of the analysis was to obtain data that would allow the experts to evaluate any potential health impacts modern shale development could pose to the nearby Fort Cherry School District, which has also been evaluated by both the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and CardnoChemRisk on behalf of the School District. This is on top of the Pennsylvania DEP’s Long-Term Marcellus Ambient Air Monitoring report, which looked at multiple natural gas facilities in Washington County.
Due to Yonker well site’s proximity to other natural gas wells and infrastructure, and the associated wind direction (West, Southwest), the data collected also provides a cumulative look at potential air and health impacts from natural gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured and in production – some for more than a decade. The scientists also compared the findings from the air monitoring locations to the DEP’s continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations located throughout the region.
Not only did the evaluation indicate that measured PM2.5 and VOC concentrations were consistently below health-based air comparison values, the data ranged from several-hundred-fold to several-thousand-fold lower than an exposure level at which an adverse effect has been observed in people or laboratory animals.
For years, we have received questions about the air quality around our operations, and we monitored a well site near a school campus to be transparent and responsive to students, parents, and those in the community. This comprehensive data with third-party expert analysis aligns with other reports conducted by regulatory agencies and the school district, that all determined natural gas development does not pose any chronic or acute health concerns.
Download the full report here.
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