Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Responding to Questions about My Testimony etc.

Question from Blog Reader:
(did not leave email address)

What is a way to contain the flowback fluids if not in an open pit? In Arlington TX, urban drilling the top flow during flowback (before the Green Completions equipment is used) is held in open hatch flowback tanks, and the steamy white wafting clouds leave the site. How to contain that?

Is there sufficient technology to keep the frac sand from becoming airborne and leaving the padsite?
 Isn't that a health hazard for risk of silicosis?

What is the "setback" distance for drill sites near people?

Can you also send me the link to the DEP N Central Region health study
 that you said on the video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KzqBDYuZ-c found no health effects cause they had dry gas?

There was also mention in that video of a review of the workers health that did not find illnesses...can you please
 email the link to me?

Thank you for your questions:
Here are some of the references you requested.

New York Permit conditions require flow-back fluids to be contained in sealed containers. Example of sealed container- http://www.epmag.com/Magazine/2010/8/Images/August_Drilling&CompletionsFluids_SWSI_1.jpg

I am not sure what you refer to steamy white wafts of clouds leaving the site.  However, visual or odor detection does not necessarily mean toxic.  The concentration of whatever is contained in the “White wafts” has to be high enough when it gets to the nearest person, it also has to be at the right exposure length and also has to have some related toxicity value and then it has to be able to exert an effect.

Frac Sand:
This article by Captain Esswein discusses and addresses some of the concerns raised and offers solutions. Silicosis is a potential hazard but in a literature review of studies on Oil and Gas workers there have been no cases that have been found as a result of this type exposure. However, it is still important to protect workers and devise safer methods. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/05/silica-fracking/

Are determined site specific- permit based. The sGEIS only offers recommendations. The permit writer reviews the permit and site and determines what a safe setback is.  Obviously it has to be far enough to prevent air emission exposure at levels of concern. City of Fort Worth did an air study, Colorado Department of Public Health and ASTDR did studies and found that air emission dissipated the further you went from the well pad - hence the importance of setbacks.

Link to Oil and Gas Workers study: http://www.aip.com.au/health/ohs.htm

Dry gas in NorthCentral PA: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/aq/aqm/docs/Marcellus_NC_05-06-11.pdf (page iii)

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