On February 4th, the City held a Study Session which included an overview of health concerns related to oil and gas development. Below is a summary of what was discussed.
The City instituted an Oil and Gas Health Response Program back in November. The data collected from this program will be used for compliance and enforcement, BMP’s, and for local and state policy decisions. An environmental epidemiologist starts on Feb. 19 who will be taking a more proactive approach in reaching out to the community and monitoring trends and correlations within the reported data. The health department has been compiling two sets of data. One set of data focuses on the air quality monitoring program. The second set focuses on reported health complaints.
The Air Quality Monitoring program monitors air quality close to the sites, in various locations away from the sites, and looks at canisters being given to residents to collect air samples. This program gives a better idea of ambient air quality and what is coming from oil and gas operations. The health department will be looking closely at dose and concentration of what is in the air when health complaints are reported. It was noted that all individual responses to chemicals are different so that will be considered when looking at this data. They are looking for patterns in the health concerns as it relates to the air quality. This data will be evaluated by an environmental epidemiologist and a contracted toxicology firm. The City is also working directly with the CDPHE and is finalizing an MOU that will allow the sharing of data and health information. It was noted that residents need to put their addresses on their health complaints to make data analysis meaningful. Also, 22% of residents reported seeing a physician about their health symptoms but few are sharing that information with CCOB Public Health as would be helpful for future study by CCOB.
The council reviewed a compiled report which looked at health impacts reported between November 4th and January 20th. Based on the information provided during the time period analyzed, there were 167 reported health complaints. Noise was the biggest complaint. Almost one third of the health complaints came from people over 5000ft from the site. The top three health impacts reported were headaches, nosebleeds, and difficulty sleeping. The biggest health impact reported in children was nosebleeds, in adults was headaches, and in the senior population was eye irritation.
Residents are raising questions about the dates selected to compile this report from Nov. 4, 2019 to Jan. 20, 2020. These dates do not include most of the health complaints received during the drilling phase where many chemicals are used. The health impacts reported during the drilling phase include multiple issues with nosebleeds, headaches, and eye and throat irritation. The dates for this report looked at health impacts that primarily occurred during the fracking phase. During this phase, the health impacts reported shifted from more physical complaints that could be attributed to exposure to drilling chemicals to health impacts that result from noise related events. Residents question if this report gives the City a full picture of the health impacts that have been reported over the course of this project.
This February 4 study session was supposed to include a discussion to review a proposed oil and gas ordinance on zoning. Due to time constraints, this review was rescheduled to take place in a separate Study Session on February 12th at 7:15PM, just after the Community Workshop on Oil and Gas. This workshop will focus on fees, inspections, fines, financial assurances, pipelines and abandoned wells. If you cannot make the meetings on Wed, Feb. 12 at 5:30 pm, please share your input
To review the presentation given to Council by the Health Department, click HERE.
To watch the full study session, click HERE. The health impact discussion starts at 3:13.