Broomfield’s Air Monitoring Program continues to track VOC plumes at two monitoring locations. A recent report was released, which looked closely at events that occurred on August 3rd, August 11th, September 6th, and September 12th, September 17th. The report identified that there were two different chemical compositions found in these plumes. Based on the chemicals found, the recent wildfire smoke in the area was ruled out as a possible source.
The August events were identified as being “Signature ME” events, which contained methane, ethane, and were BTEX rich. These chemicals suggest that these events were from “direct (uncombusted) emissions” sources “possibly originating from subsurface hydrocarbons (oil and gas).”
The September events were identified as “Signature BA” events. The plumes were benzene and acetylene rich but lacked the methane and BTEX gasses found in the August plumes. These chemicals suggest the events are coming from “some sort of combustion or other unconventional emission source.” According to the scientists, these types of events have been increasing in frequency and are currently the main focus of the scientists as they try to identify what is causing these events.
While the benzene levels being recorded are below what is considered unsafe, the consistent exposure to benzene remains a concern to nearby residents.
The September 17th event was reviewed in the most detail. The plume tracker monitored this plume for 20 minutes. The report identified the Livingston Pad as a probable source for this plume. The experts came to this conclusion by looking at the measurements taken and the direction the plume moved, from the north to the south, diluting as it moved south. The lack of chemicals found north of the pad and at Soaring Eagle Park also supported this conclusion. In addition, the team looked at wind direction and heat maps for acetylene and benzene. These findings also indicated the source of the plume was in the general vicinity of the Livingston Pad.
The report does not identify if any operations happening at the site could be causing these plumes. The scientists are looking into whether these plumes could be coming from some sort of combustion device being used on the site. It has been noted that there is an Enclosed Combustion Device (ECD) located at the site and additional data is being analyzed to see if this could possibly be the source. While nothing is confirmed at this point, it is important to note that the experts are working hard to find what is causing these events.
To read the full report, click HERE.