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Air quality study to assess effects of fracking in Carroll County
University of Cincinnati, Oregon State University team up to research possible health risks stemming from chemical air pollutants associated with shale gas drilling
Story by GRACE MURRAY


 

A new air quality study focusing on the effects of shale gas drilling operations is getting underway in the No. 1 Ohio county for fracking – Carroll County.

The University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University study will record samples from the nearly 100 producing wells in Carroll County, as of October. It is set to last a year, and is funded by a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant.

Carroll Concerned Citizens chair Paul Feezel says there’s been a lot of talk regarding potential water contamination associated with fracking, but researchers are now turning their attention to another possible risk – hazardous air quality.

LISTEN TO: FEEZEL ON AIR QUALITY STUDY

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LISTEN TO: FEEZEL ON AIR SAMPLING DEVICES

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"Researchers are starting to recognize that some of the long-term exposure to the air can also be a concern for human health risk, so this particular study is starting to look at that," Feezel says. "Because the boom is so early here in Ohio, researchers thought this was a great place to come, and they specifically targeted Carroll County because there are so many wells in such a small geographic area."

The University of Cincinnati completed a similar study on the drinking water wells in Carroll County and found no contamination due to fracking.

Feezel says researchers are looking for willing landowners in the area to place passive air sampling devices on their property. The devices are designed to collect chemical readings for air pollutants often associated with drilling.

"[Researchers] are going to seek a small number of locations where they're going to put passive samplers that are small devices that sit on fence posts or t-posts." he says. "They're targeting within a couple hundred yards of a shale gas pad, and they're specifically looking for those locations that are early in the drilling cycle so they can capture any variations that occur between the drilling, hydraulic fracturing, conversion of production or wells that are actually in production."

Citizens interested in participating or looking for more information on the new study, he says, can come to Carroll Concerned Citizens’ next meeting on January 7th at 9 p.m. in the Carrollton Church of Christ on Moody Avenue.

 
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