Garfield County receives oil and gas air emissions study results

June 14, 2016

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners received an air emissions study report and presentation from Colorado State University (CSU) June 14. The three-year study is named Characterizing Air Emissions from Natural Gas Drilling and Well Completion Operations in Garfield County, Colorado.

Jeffrey Collett, professor and head of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science is the principal investigator for the study, which collected scientific data during 21 experiments.

The presentation is available online at the Garfield County website, and CSU is releasing the full report later today. The report summary to the Board of Commissioners was streamed live to the community June 14, and is archived online at the Garfield County website.

CSU representatives expect to provide study data for public access July 1 via CSU’s online data portal.

Garfield County supported and is now making available to the community this first-in-class study, providing the most comprehensive assessment of air toxics, ozone precursors and greenhouse gas emission rates from natural gas well drilling and completion operations to date.

“I would like to express appreciation to the oil and gas industry,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “Its participation financially not only greatly contributed to the completion of this study, but it could not have happened at all without the access to the sites that the researchers needed.”

“This wave has been completed and we now look to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to interpret the data,” said Commission Chair John Martin. “We eagerly await the conclusions, not only for us, but for the state and the nation”.

CSU researchers collected air samples from three activities during new well development: drilling, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), and flowback. They quantified air emission rates and dispersion of air toxins, ozone precursors and greenhouse gases during each of these processes.

“The Garfield County Public Health department is excited to have received the results of this much-anticipated study,” said Garfield County Environmental Health Specialist Morgan Hill. “While the county’s air monitoring program collects ambient air monitoring data that evaluates trends over time in a fixed location, the CSU team has gathered valuable emissions data specifically for natural gas drilling and completions operations. We look forward to seeing how this rich data set will be used for other applications in the future, and are proud to be part of groundbreaking research in the field.”

Building on Garfield County’s study plan, Collett’s team is conducting a similar study of air emissions from oil and gas activity along the northern Front Range, which the state of Colorado recently commissioned.

Garfield County contributed $1 million toward the study, and the university obtained additional natural gas industry gifts to fund the remainder of the $1.77 million study.

Colorado State University press release

Air emissions study