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Highly Elevated Atmospheric Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Uintah Basin, Utah

Highly Elevated Atmospheric Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Uintah Basin, Utah

Author(s):
Detlev Helmig, Chelsea Thompson and Jason Evans

Date:
03.2014

Source / Publisher:
Environmental Science & Technology

Key findings:

  • Despite an area population of barely 30,000, Uintah County is home to a combined 11,200 oil- and gas-producing wells.
  • Over time, their presence led to researchers’ discovery that the area exceeded the U.S. EPA’s eight-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) level for ozone pollutants for 39 days last winter, placing it above the Los Angeles Basin’s typical summertime levels.
  • “Levels above this threshold are considered to be harmful to human health, and high levels of ozone are known to cause respiratory distress and be responsible for an estimated 5,000 premature deaths in the U.S. per year.”

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