Second air quality monitor to go up in Eagle Ford Shale

Researcher hoping to compare with Karnes City unit with Floresville monitor findings.

SAN ANTONIO – Findings are in for the first air quality monitor in the Eagle Ford Shale, and plans for the second are already in the works in Karnes City.

Hired by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, UT professor and research assistant David Sullivan has been taking measurements from the Floresville monitor for more than a year.

The TCEQ chose Floresville as the location for the first monitor because of it's proximity to San Antonio.

"We see several alkane species, that are very well correlated together like ethane, propane, butanes, and pentanes, and then tend to be more associated with winds from the South," Sullivan said.

While the winds from the South, otherwise known as the shale region, have not exceeded acceptable levels of hydrocarbons, there is some question as to whether or not this air pollution will tip the scales for San Antonio.

"If San Antonio is bumping against the ozone standard and there's only a small margin to get to that ozone standard then it may only take a small increment in their ozone concentrations," Sullivan said.

The Floresville monitor doesn't tell the whole story.

Sullivan said the TCEQ has other research efforts underway.

The Karnes City Courthouse parking lot is the location strategically slated for the next air quality monitor in the Eagle Ford Shale.

There are dozens of oil and gas wells within a 10-mile radius of the sight.

"We've been successful in some of our cities when we have more than one monitor in being able to tell when the wind blows from one direction and a monitor sees something, and when a different monitor sees the same mix that there is a source that you can triangulate on," Sullivan said.

He is hoping more monitors will mean more information to evaluate and compare.

While the TCEQ is working on the second monitor, which is expected to be operational within the next two months, the Dallas area Barnett Shale has 15 monitors.

According to the TCEQ, the legislature set aside funding for the studies in 2011.