S16 Preliminary Analysis of Aerosol Concentrations Near a Proposed Silica Transfer Station

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Matthew C. Sanders, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY; and S. D. Brooks

As the prominence of hydraulic fracturing-related sites in the US has increased in recent years, concerns over the various impacts of those stations has grown as well. One of the consequences of the fracking activities is the increased release of aerosols into the atmosphere surrounding those sites, which can change the air quality at the locations and beyond. The data presented here show baseline aerosol concentrations during the winter and spring months for a town in northeast Pennsylvania, where a silica transfer station has been proposed. The transfer station is of particular concern due to its proximity to the town, and because the silica sand can cause various lung diseases if they become airborne and get inhaled.

Fine particulates are one of the six primary pollutants in the US regulated by the EPA, with concerns surrounding particulate matter less than 2.5 and 10 microns in diameter (i.e. PM2.5 and PM10). 24-hour mass concentration averages for these two size ranges may not exceed 35 and 150 μg/m3. Sampling in Tunkhannock, PA was conducted at six sites during the winter and spring of 2015. Mass concentrations at both size levels rarely surpassed regulations, with only 6 records of exceeded concentrations over the roughly five month long collection of data, indicating clean air around the village before construction of the transfer station. Furthermore, there appeared to be no difference in baseline aerosol concentrations between winter and spring. This data will then be compared to air quality data collected during and after construction of the station in order to assess whether future regulations may be needed for other sites around the country.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner