Fort Worth air testing results released




Posted on February 15, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 15 at 10:07 AM

FORT WORTH — The preliminary results of an ambient air study in Fort Worth are in, and the results show the highest levels of toxins were found in an area of high natural gas production activity.

Researchers hired by the City of Fort Worth focused on seven locations. Equipment monitored the air for weeks to get an idea of what a person might breathe in those locations over time.

Each of the seven sites focused on something different — from neighborhoods, to traffic, to gas wells, to a saltwater disposal area.

Crews tested for toxins including benzene, a cancer-causing chemical. They found levels at or around average for the Metroplex at six sites.

But testing at a seventh site — just north of downtown Fort Worth — revealed something very different. Benzene there was about triple the average for the area. The site was located near high levels of natural gas activity, including wells and compressor stations. It's also near traffic.

Chris Klaus, a member of Fort Worth’s Air Quality Study Committee, said he was encouraged by the overall interim study report, which found all but two of 57 drilling sites where testing has been completed so far are obeying state limits for pollution emissions.

Klaus wonders, however, if the aggregate of all the facilities could still be an issue. “It will be interesting to see how the cumulative effects are impacting health or citizens’ air quality,” he said.

The study also collected about 200 air samples at drilling sites all over Fort Worth. Those sample results, however, have not yet been released.