MOUNT VERNON — Concerns about the health effects from high-volume hydraulic fracturing were shared Thursday evening when the Stewards of the Land group hosted an informational session at Sips Coffee House. Bill Baker, facilitator for the Frack Free Ohio group, opened the session and introduced guest speaker Dr. Deborah Cowden, M.D. Also sharing information during the session was Josh Harris of Stewards of the Land.
“Our concern is human health, fresh water and other resources that we should be looking at,” said Baker.
Cowden shared extensive information gathered on this topic, much of it coming from a study conducted by the Garfield County Health Department, Colorado, where numerous fracking wells are located. The focus of Cowden’s presentation was on the effects of air, “Because there has been a lot of discussion already about water, but there hasn’t been a lot of data about air until recently,” said Cowden.
Outlined was what Cowden called an assault on our air quality which gave details of how fracking pollutants are coming in the forms of:
•Smoke from fires and explosions.
•Volatile organics from condensation tanks, compressor stations, rogue gas and evaporative pits.
•Diesel fumes from drilling engines, large fracking pumps and truck traffic.
“What the condensation tanks emit you cannot see without an infrared camera,” said Cowden, “Nor can you smell them,” as she shared pictures in infrared form which showed contaminants in the air believed to be coming from the tanks.
Statistics gathered from a compression station in Pennsylvania show that two of them will put out 38.94 tons of nitric oxide per year, 12.5 tons of volatile organics and 49.2 tons of carbon monoxide. “You don’t want to be standing around near this building,” said Cowden.