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The original item was published from 7/19/2019 10:35:30 AM to 7/27/2019 12:00:03 AM.

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Oil and Gas

Posted on: July 19, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Fugitive Dust Emissions

There have been some concerns associated with fugitive dust emissions on Extraction well pads.

There have been some concerns associated with fugitive dust emissions on Extraction well pads. One of the perceived sources of fugitive dust emissions is the silica sand that is used during the completions process, which includes hydraulic fracturing.  Sand is utilized by mixing it with water and pumping it into a wellbore to help obtain minerals at depths ranging from 7- 8,000 feet below the earth’s surface. The sand being pumped down the hole helps keep fractures open and creates a pathway for hydrocarbons to flow to the wellbore.  This sand is NOT a source of fugitive dust emissions as there are engineered controls to manage the handling of the sand and prevent fugitive emissions.  These controls include:

  • The containers used are gravity fed boxes storing 20,000 - 25,000 lbs of sand and meet Department of Transportation (DOT) packaging requirements. 

  • The containers are filled offsite and transported to the hydraulic fracturing location. 

  • Sand is delivered from the box to the blender (equipment used to mix water and sand),  using a closed system that includes an enclosed horizontal belt and a rubber seal that fits around the opening of the sand box. 

  • The operator can hydraulically close and open the sand boxes individually to feed the horizontal conveyor belt.

  • The sand is transported via this conveyor belt to the blender.   Once it is blended, it is transported through hoses and pumps and is not open to the atmosphere.

At the Interchange B Pad, even with relatively little wind, dirt from the Pad can become airborne and create fugitive dust emissions.  The Operator Agreement contains provisions for mitigating dust, including the application of water to access roads, pads, etc.  Broomfield Oil and Gas Division staff continue to monitor the site to verify that provisions of the Operator Agreement are being met, including the application of water to prevent dust.

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