WV County Health Dept Investigates Wells for Air Pollution

Is Marcellus Shale drilling in West Virginia causing elevated levels of cancer-causing benzene (and other pollutants) to spread near well sites? That’s the question being investigated by the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department. They’ve been sampling air around wells in Ohio County and have concerns, particularly about benzene levels. They’ve sent their findings to Michael McCawley, chairman of the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at West Virginia University. McCawley, you may remember, has been beating the drum for some time that setbacks for drilling in WV are not enough and that air pollution coming from drilling operations is a serious issue (see WVU Prof Keeps Up Pressure on Improved Air Quality at Drill Sites).

The source of the benzene is not from what’s coming out of the borehole–it’s from heavy equipment running at the drill site and trucks coming and going to the site. Benzene is found in diesel fuel and a lot of equipment at a drill sites runs on diesel…

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