Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Principal Investigator:
Meredith Franklin
Associate Professor
University of Toronto
Principal Investigator:
Laura Cushing
Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Principal Investigator:
Detlev Helmig
Boulder Atmosphere Innovation Research, LLC
Principal Investigator:
Jill Johnston
Assistant Professor
University of Southern California
Principal Investigator:
Gunnar Schade
Associate Professor
Texas A&M University

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

Franklin Study Locations

Franklin Study Locations

 

Meredith Franklin
Meredith Franklin

Research Team

Meredith Franklin
Associate Professor
University of Toronto
Laura Cushing
Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Detlev Helmig
Boulder Atmosphere Innovation Research, LLC
Jill Johnston
Assistant Professor
University of Southern California
Gunnar Schade
Associate Professor
Texas A&M University

Project Updates

Franklin Quarterly Update - December 2023

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Hosted a webinar on December 12, 2023, to present preliminary air quality monitoring data from our sampling campaign in Loving, NM. Link to the recording here
  • Developed two infographics (available in English and Spanish here) that explain the ozone concentrations observed in Loving, NM and flaring in the Permian Basin.
  • Continued visits to the stationary monitoring site in Loving, NM, for routine maintenance, particle filter changes, and instrument checks.
  • With the help of community volunteers, finalized a passive air quality monitoring network to include 9 sites around the Carlsbad-Loving-Malaga, NM area.
  • Participated in a Community Open House in Karnes City, TX, with another HEI Energy-funded research team (Hildebrandt-Ruiz).

What's New

  • Continuing analysis of air quality monitoring data collected at the stationary monitoring site in Loving, NM.  trailer reveals high concentrations of ozone on hot, sunny days, that are driven by high concentrations of volatile organic compounds, particularly petrochemical-related alkanes, emitted in the area.
  • Comparing air quality monitoring data from Loving, NM, with similar measurements in the Denver-Julesburg Basin of Colorado.
  • Increasing media attention around the emissions in the Permian Basin, with news releases from the Carlsbad Current-Argus, Santa Fe New Mexican and Texas A&M

What's Next

  • Source apportionment of the stationary air quality monitoring measurements in Loving, NM, to help identify what is contributing to air quality observations.
  • Targeted noise measurements will be taken in a short-term field campaign around the Loving, NM, stationary monitoring site to better understand sound profiles from various oil and gas operations in the general area.
  • Lab analysis of air samples from the passive monitoring network and creation of a database of these air quality data.
Dr. Gunnar Schade describes the research team’s air quality monitoring program during a December 12, 2023 public webinar.

 

Franklin Quarterly Update - September 2023

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Deployed a passive monitoring network around Carlsbad-Loving, NM, with the help of community volunteers. There are 6 monitors in the community and 1 monitor located with the stationary air quality and noise monitoring trailer in Loving, NM.
  • Made monthly visits to the monitoring trailer in Loving, NM for routine maintenance, particle filter changes, and instrument checks.
  • Completed a third-party audit of the project ensuring quality assurance of instruments, data collection, and data analysis.
  • Created a web application that maps satellite-observed flaring across the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.

What's New

  • Analyzing the air quality data and examining trends collected at the monitoring trailer. 
  • Setting up a weekly schedule with the community volunteers to collect the passive samplers and ship them to Dr. Gunnar Schade’s lab at Texas A&M University where he is analyzing them.
  • Working with community volunteers to expand the passive sampling network (2 more planned for September 2023 deployment).

What's Next

  • Create infographics to distribute to the community.
  • Hold a community webinar in Carlsbad-Loving, NM in the fall of 2023 (Date and Time TBD).
  • Begin recruitment of volunteers for passive sampler deployment in the Eagle Ford region.
Franklin Quarterly Update - June 2023

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Deployed an air quality and noise monitoring trailer in Loving, NM.
  • Launched a website for sharing data collected using the monitoring trailer.
  • Hosted an initial Community Open House at the Alejandro Ruiz Community center in Loving, NM.
  • Carlsbad Current-Argus published an article about the team’s research.
  • Dr. Franklin gave a poster presentation on the research at the 2023 HEI Annual Conference in Boston.

What's New

  • Analyzing the air quality data collected at the Loving NM trailer, examining trends, and comparing it with air quality data collected as part of separate studies in Carlsbad, NM and the Denver Julesburg Basin, CO.
  • Recruiting additional volunteers to host passive air quality monitoring devices in a sampling network across the Carlsbad/Loving, NM area.
  • Completing the analysis and preparing a publication examining the role of unconventional oil and gas production and flaring on long-term trends in air concentrations of nitrogen oxides and ozone in Carlsbad, NM.

What's Next

  • Develop a training video to assist community volunteers who are hosting passive samplers.
  • Begin deployment of the passive samplers in mid-June 2023.
  • Make site visits periodically throughout the summer and continue to engage with community groups.
  • Continue analysis of air quality and noise data. Passive air quality monitoring data will become available by late summer 2023.

Upcoming Events:

  • Community Open House in Karnes City (Summer 2023; date and location to be determined).
franklin flare
Figure: Flaring the Carlsbad/Loving, NM, area.
Exterior view of the air quality and noise monitoring trailer
Figure: Exterior view of the air quality and noise monitoring trailer.
franklin monitoring trailer interior
Figure: Interior view of the air quality and noise monitoring trailer.
Franklin Quarterly Update - March 2023

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Secured the cooperation of an oil and gas company for site access and provision of operational data.
  • Tested trailer with instruments that measure air quality and noise in preparation for deployment. 
  • Analyzed data about well locations and flaring of natural gas in the Permian Basin, with specific focus on the New Mexico communities of Carlsbad and Loving.
  • Studied historical trends in the levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone in outdoor air near a state monitoring location in  Carlsbad.
     

What's New

  • Establishing a stationary air quality and noise monitoring location in Loving, NM.
  • Engaging with a community organization in Carlsbad, NM.
  • Engaging with a science professor in the local Community College (Southeast NM College, SENMC), who will participate in the project by hosting a passive sampler for air monitoring. 
  • Seeking landowners interested in allowing e passive air quality monitors on their properties.  
  • Re-running a public service announcement in both English and Spanish on Carlsbad radio stations, to inform the public of our upcoming air quality study and the opportunity to get involved.

What's Next

  • Deploy the trailer outfitted with air quality and noise monitoring instruments to Loving, NM. 
  • Build a website to share information with the community.
  • Contact landowners and community members in Carlsbad and Loving, NM for our passive air sampling campaign. They will be contacted in person as possible.
Preparing the trailer for deployment in Loving, NM.
Preparing the trailer for deployment in Loving, NM.

Upcoming Events:

  • Community Open House in Carlsbad, NM (Spring 2023; date and location to be determined) to engage in a discussion about our research, display our air quality and noise sampling trailer, and recruit community volunteers for passive air quality monitoring.
  • Poster presentation at the HEI Annual Conference, Boston, MA (April 30-May 2).
Examples of air quality and noise monitoring instruments in the trailer. NOx: nitrogen oxides; VOC: volatile organic compounds; CH4: methane; CO2: carbon dioxide; GC-FID: gas chromatograph equipped with a flame ionization detector.
Examples of air quality and noise monitoring instruments in the trailer. NOx: nitrogen oxides; VOC: volatile organic compounds; CH4: methane; CO2: carbon dioxide; GC-FID: gas chromatograph equipped with a flame ionization detector.
Franklin Quarterly Update - December 2022

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Established a stationary air quality and noise monitoring location in Loving, NM.
  • Fully outfitted a trailer with instruments that measure air quality and noise in preparation for deployment to the monitoring location.
  • Analyzed data about well locations and flaring of natural gas in the Permian Basin, with specific focus on the Carlsbad and Loving, NM communities.
Our team setting up a passive sampler at a community volunteer's yard.
Our team setting up a passive sampler at a community volunteer's yard.

What's New

  • Engaging with a community organization in Carlsbad, NM.
  • Proposing a preliminary network layout of passive sampling devices to collect air quality data in the area stretching from Carlsbad to Malaga, NM.
  • Running a 30-second public service announcement on Carlsbad radio stations, informing the public of upcoming air quality study and potential volunteer involvement.

What's Next

  • Deploy the trailer to the Loving, NM monitoring location in mid-December 2022.
  • Establish a website for sharing our results with the community.
  • Contact landowners and community members in Carlsbad and Loving, NM for our passive sampling campaign. Please contact Dr. Gunnar Schade at gws@tamu.edu or +1-979-845-0633 if you would like to volunteer.

Upcoming Events:

Community Open House in Carlsbad, NM in mid-January, 2023 to engage in a discussion about our research, air quality and noise sampling trailer, and to recruit community volunteers for the passive monitoring campaign. Contact Dr. Franklin if you would like more information about participating.

Franklin Quarterly Update - September 2022

Assessing Source Contributions to Air Quality and Noise in Unconventional Oil Shale Plays

Meredith Franklin

The goal of this study is to understand potential community exposure to UOGD-associated chemicals and radioactivity in air as well as noise. The investigators will apply the following methods to achieve their goals:

  1. Monitor air quality and noise in the Permian region of New Mexico and the Eagle Ford region of Texas to understand how potential exposures vary across the regions and over different time scales.
  2. Combine existing air monitoring data in the Denver-Julesburg region of Colorado and original data collected in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions with statistical models to distinguish UOGD from other sources of chemicals in the air and noise sources.
  3. Leverage satellite data to examine the association between natural gas flaring and air quality.
  4. Collaborate with the Collett and Hildebrandt Ruiz teams to evaluate the "TRAcking Community Exposures and Releases" (TRACER) model performance in the Denver-Julesburg and Eagle Ford regions.


Online database with preliminary air concentration data collected by Dr. Franklin’s team. The data have not yet undergone HEI Energy’s rigorous peer review.

What's Happened

  • Engaged with the community and local stakeholders in the Permian Basin to bring awareness to the project through in-person meetings and a series of virtual open houses.
  • Acquired trailer for air and noise monitoring in the Permian Basin.
  • Collected satellite data to detect flares and air quality data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

 

What's New

  • Outfitting trailer with air, noise, and radiation monitoring equipment.
  • Engaging with community members in the Permian Basin to establish a location for the air, noise, and radiation monitoring trailer.
Trailer that is being outfitted with air, radiation, and noise sampling equipment for placement in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, Texas.
Trailer that is being outfitted with air, radiation, and noise sampling equipment for placement in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, Texas.

What's Next

  • Acquire passive sampling equipment that measures UOGDrelated chemicals in air.
  • Hold a community meeting to recruit volunteers to place passive sampling equipment on their properties.
  • Begin collecting and analyzing data from the monitoring trailer.