Question: What are ways to monitor for oil and gas spills on private property?

stevie is asking a question about air-quality
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by stevie | May 29, 2020 20:27 | #23738

Friends in Colorado were recently in touch looking for ideas on how to monitor for oil and gas spills that happen nearby on private property. Often times when they hear about spills it's days later. There are also concerns that these spills aren't being reported at all. Looking for ideas or resources!


My understanding -- based on very limited reading! -- is that remote sensing solutions are mostly geared toward oil sheens on water and won't be particularly helpful for detecting adjacent spills on land. You can test soil vapors using a PID detector but that requires you to have a sample and to know where to look.

Here is an article describing that process: Real time monitoring of soil contamination with diesel fuel using photoionization detectors. Victor Bocos-Bintintan, Ileana Andreea Ratiu & Hossam Al-Suod (2019)

This is "real-time" -- you can test the vapors yourself if you have the detector vs. taking a sample and sending it away -- but you still need to be able to go out and collect the sample, which might be hard in this case.

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Since March 13, companies don't have to report spills during COVID19, so, I am sure.

Odor reports to NRC are now more reliable indicators of spills than the companies.

Even if they smell oil coming from the property, they can call the NRC with the Suspected Responsible Party. With just an odor complaint, the NRC will report out the suspected spill to Colorado Health and Environment for follow up. Often the state agency will not be able to respond quickly enough, but if you make 10 odor reports, they will begin to plan around dealing with the facility.

Also, they should 1) Call 1-800-424-8802 National Response Center 2) Report the odor and Suspected Responsible Pary 3) Request the NRC Number and a copy of the NRC emailed report 4) track their report on Skytruth Alerts

I can't recommend Skytruth enough! Often the company IS reporting, but the community is never notified. But air incident reports are down to 27% of normal in Louisiana since the Federal announcement to suspend reporting requirements.

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