Evaluation of the Influence of Non-Conventional Sources of Emissions on Ambient Air Pollutant Concentrations in North Texas

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Emissions of air pollutants from non-conventional sources have been on the rise in the North Texas area over the past decade. These include primary pollutants such as volatile organic compound (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) which also act as precursors in the formation of ozone. Most of these have been attributed to a significant increase in oil and gas production activities since 2000 within the Barnett Shale region adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex region. In this study, air quality concentrations measured at the Denton Airport and Dallas Hinton monitoring sites operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ... continued below

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ix, 119 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps

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Lim, Guo Quan August 2015.

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  • Lim, Guo Quan

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Emissions of air pollutants from non-conventional sources have been on the rise in the North Texas area over the past decade. These include primary pollutants such as volatile organic compound (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) which also act as precursors in the formation of ozone. Most of these have been attributed to a significant increase in oil and gas production activities since 2000 within the Barnett Shale region adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex region. In this study, air quality concentrations measured at the Denton Airport and Dallas Hinton monitoring sites operated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) were evaluated. VOC concentration data from canister-based sampling along with continuous measurement of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM2.5), and meteorological conditions at these two sites spanning from 2000 through 2014 were employed in this study. The Dallas site is located within the urban core of one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, while the Denton site is an exurban site with rural characteristics to it. The Denton Airport site was influenced by natural gas pads surrounding it while there are very few natural gas production facilities within close proximity to the Dallas Hinton site. As of 2013, there were 1362 gas pads within a 10 mile radius to the Denton Airport site but there were only 2 within a 10 mile radius to Dallas Hinton site. The Dallas site displayed higher concentrations of NOx and much lower concentrations of VOC than the Denton site. Extremely high levels of VOC measured at the Denton site corresponded with the increase in oil and gas production activities in close proximity to the monitoring site. Ethane and propane are two major contributors to the measured VOC concentration, suggesting the influence of fugitive emissions of natural gas. In Dallas, the mean and maximum values of ozone had decreased since 2000 by about 2% and 25%, respectively. Similarly NOx decreased by 50% and 18% in the mean and maximum values. However, the mean VOC value showed a 21% decrease while the maximum value increased by about 46%. In Denton, the change in percentage of ozone and NOx were similar to Dallas but the mean VOC concentration increased by about 620% while the max value increased 1960%. Source apportionment analysis confirmed the findings by identifying the production of natural gas to be the primary source of VOC emissions in Denton, while traffic sources were more influential near the Dallas site. In light of the recent proposal by EPA to revise the ozone standard, the influence of these new unconventional sources should be further evaluated.

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ix, 119 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 2015

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  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • April 18, 2017, 11:05 a.m.

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Lim, Guo Quan. Evaluation of the Influence of Non-Conventional Sources of Emissions on Ambient Air Pollutant Concentrations in North Texas, thesis, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804841/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .