Atmospheric Emission Characterization of Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development Sites

Environmental Science & Technology (April 21, 2015; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00452) / by J. Douglas Goetz, et al.

[Philly Voice] In a newly published report in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, scientists from [Carnegie Mellon] university’s chemistry, civil, architectural and environmental engineering departments, as well as other researchers, measured the air quality in and around fracking wells in northeastern and southwestern Pennsylvania.

The results? Surprisingly good, said Dr. Peter F. DeCarlo, assistant professor of chemistry and one of the authors of the study.

Fracking at the Marcellus Shale has had “less impact than we expected,” DeCarlo said. “From an air-quality perspective, it’s not as damaging as we expected.”

In fact, the air quality in Philadelphia would be of greater concern, DeCarlo said, “there’s no question about that.”

What was worrisome was that the amount of methane, a greenhouse gas, was “a little bit higher than expected.”…

Despite the good news, DeCarlo cautioned that the study only looked at a fraction of the 6,000 wells in Pennsylvania, and that a “super emitter,” a well that inadvertently pumps harmful amounts of methane or other gases into the air, could be sitting unmonitored in a rural field somewhere…


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