Garfield County funds VOC source apportionment study

CSU staff will analyze volatile organic compound data collected since 2008

March 7, 2018

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has approved $75,000 toward an air quality study that will analyze the sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the area.

As part of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Colorado State University, the VOC Source Apportionment study will operate for one year through April 2019, at which time the results will be published. The study will focus on natural gas production, vehicle traffic, and vegetation sources, and be conducted by the same research team that collected data in the $1 million Garfield County Natural Gas Emissions study from 2008 to 2016.

VOCs can contribute to air pollution, and come from both natural and human-caused activity. Some VOCs can pose a health risk and are a component of ozone formation. The study will identify source profiles from sampling canisters, analyze source data, and CSU will report its findings to Garfield County.

“We’ve collected a very robust catalogue of VOCs since 2008,” said Garfield County Environmental Health Specialist Morgan Hill. “We’re taking the investment we’ve made in years of data collected and interpreting it in a more comprehensive way.”

The county has five long-standing ambient air monitoring sites. These are located in Carbondale, south of Silt, downtown Rifle, downtown Parachute, and in Battlement Mesa. CSU will also collect 15 new canister samples near potential VOC sources in the county.

CSU was chosen to conduct the study, given its familiarity with Garfield County, natural gas development in the area, and the data from the prior study.

“It is expected that these (VOC sources) will include emissions from vehicle traffic, vegetation, and natural gas production,” the proposal notes. “The canisters will be analyzed for a suite of VOCs in the laboratory on the CSU campus.”

Hill added that this study is different from the previous CSU air emissions study, in that the county is taking a more active role as a partner.

The IGA was approved by the BOCC, 3-0.

“It’s unanimous. We’re behind you,” said Commissioner John Martin. “Let’s keep it going. Let’s keep the air clean.”

Air Quality