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Deanna Donohoue

Lawrence University
On the Road (with ARTEMIS): An Exploratory Air Quality Study in the Bakken
The Bakken Formation –Williston Basin is located primarily in North Dakota. Over the last two decades mining activities using the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing to extract gases and oils have increased the oil and gas production from the Bakken Formation over 1000 fold. One of the major concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing is fugitive emissions of volatile organic compounds including methane. The chemical oxidation of methane and other VOCs in the presence of nitrogen oxides (NOx) can result in the production of tropospheric ozone, which is a health hazard, a major component of photochemical smog, and can act as a greenhouse gas. In the summer of 2015, we launched an exploratory research campaign throughout North Dakota, Eastern Montana and South Dakota, using ARTEMIS (Atmospheric Research Trailer for Environmental Monitoring and Interactive Science) a novel mobile laboratory. From this data we see an 8 ± 5 ppb difference when we compare data from areas identified as having heavy mining activity to those identified as background. This observation of increased ozone is consistent with ozone values predicted from recent studies based on in-situ measurements of methane or ethane fugitive emissions, and indicate that the regional air quality impacts of fugitive emissions may be significant.
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