Garfield County FLIR Tour: Garfield Creek

FLIR still images 3-18-15The two videos below were filmed at two separate WPX Energy well pads in the Garfield Creek Wildlife Area, south of New Castle. As you will see in these videos, even in a closed loop drilling system as is used in Garfield Creek, significant VOCs are detected leaking from the tanks.

earthworks_logoOur friends at Earthworks purchased a state-of-the-art FLIR Gasfinder camera (Model GF 320). FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) cameras are used by the oil & gas industry and government regulators to detect leaks of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) specifically because the FLIR has proven highly effective in the detection of hydrocarbon compounds.

Independent laboratory (third party) testing confirms that the FLIR Gasfinder Model GF 320 camera can see the following gases at the minimum detected leak rate (MDLR):

  • 1-Pentene – 5.6g/hr
  • Benzene – 3.5g/hr
  • Butane -0.4g/hr
  • Ethane – 0.6g/hr
  • Ethanol – 0.7g/hr
  • Ethylbenzene – 1.5g/hr
  • Ethylene – 4.4g/hr
  • Heptane – 1.8g/hr
  • Hexane – 1.7g/hr
  • Isoprene – 8.1g/hr
  • MEK – 3.5g/hr
  • Methane – 0.8g/hr
  • Methanol – 3.8g/hr
  • MIBK – 2.1g/hr
  • Octane – 1.2g/hr
  • Pentane – 3.0g/hr
  • Propane – 0.4g/hr
  • Propylene – 2.9g/hr
  • SF6 (Sulfur Hexaflouride) – 0.026g/hr
  • Toluene – 3.8g/hr
  • Xylene – 1.9g/hr

Infrared Training Center (ITC) certified thermographer Pete Dronkers (Earthworks Southwest Circuit Rider) brought the FLIR over to western Garfield County for a day in a gas patch. On March 7, Dronkers filmed several oil & gas sites and facilities from Garfield Creek to Silt to Rifle to Battlement Mesa/Parachute.

Declining oil & gas prices have led to a slowdown in drilling new wells, and some regional cutbacks. As a result, COGCC Director Matt Lepore and the oil & gas industry want to back off any new regulations because they cost money. Of course we would like the state to enforce the regulations already in place — especially the new air quality regulations. But they would like us all to calm down because the impacts will be magically reduced. All of the sites and facilities filmed in western Garfield County are permanent and are not affected by the slowdown in drilling. They operate 24/7. Each site and facility is identified in the videos.

At the recent Ursa community meeting in Silt, Landman Jeff Powers said, “You won’t be seeing Ursa in 2015.”

In a series of ten videos, we show you what you can’t possibly see with the naked eye. What the state and the industry don’t want you to see — the pollution the oil and gas industry is currently dumping into our air-sheds.

This series is brought to you by Earthworks and From the Styx. Please share these videos. And consider a tax deductible donation to Earthworks. Thank you!

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7 Comments on “Garfield County FLIR Tour: Garfield Creek”

  1. E. J. Says:

    I think it would be of great benefit to you to cite your sources, especially regarding who is conducting these independent studies. And believe me, I am adamantly against energy exploration implementation until long term research reflects the safety standard that we as the public deem acceptable, and proportional state and federal regulations (and enforcement of compliance within those regulations and significant repercussions regarding non-compliance) are employed. However, In the scientific discussion, you will not garner any support until sources are revealed as reputable sources that reveal findings that are pertinent to all public health concerns. I do follow your blog, and as a former citizen of Garfield County, find myself quite concerned for all of its inhabitants. That being said, citing your sources as reputable scientific institutions will make your findings all that more palatable to the general public.

  2. E. J. Says:

    To follow up, yes, I do believe a great injustice to public health and welfare is carried out on a daily basis in the name of corporate profit and utilitarian commodities in Western Colorado. However, until esteemed scientific sees the light of day in mainstream media this will forever be a grassroots movement. I try to remain optimistic that those that have the means and conviction to understand and live more harmoniously with this planet (globally and locally) are vested in investigating these instances that chronically cause human and ecological suffering.

  3. chuck finley Says:

    Those are not closed systems. And the second one coming off of a compressor station is exhaust no different than a car wash. You might want to get your facts right before you go posting stuff you obviously know nothing about.

  4. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    A closed system is one that does not use pits to store produced water. Instead the produced water is stored in tanks. Please note that the tanks contain produced water.

    A compressor station is not a car wash. You can call the emissions “exhaust” or whatever you want to call it. What the FLIR detects is toxic emissions. On each page I provide the list of toxins that it detects.

  5. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    E.J. — If you’re looking for scientific evidence of the risks and harm to public health, I suggest you start here
    Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking

  6. chuck finley Says:

    Toxic emissions that you show are no different than the billions of vehicles “exhaust” that are on every roadway in every city in every country. They are the same “toxic emissions that come out of a car wash pump engine. The same emissions that come out of home generators, any engine in the world. Take your pick.

  7. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Nope, you’re wrong. Pete turned the FLIR GF 320 on the exhaust pipe of an idling pickup. Zero emissions. He also filmed a semi- tractor idling at a well pad. The FLIR GF 320 detected a translucent puff of emissions from the exhaust. No comparison to the toxic clouds spewing out the tanks in the above videos.

    Anyway, Chuck you might want to relax and take a deep breath. Seven more videos will be released. This is only going to get worse …

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