Enverus Blog

Insights across the energy value chain

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TxDSHS) released new air quality results for DISH, TX; a town that has been the center of controversy in the Barnett Shale air quality discussions.  The Final Report: DISH, Texas Exposure Investigation was released May 12, 2010 and is the result of blood and urine samples from 28 DISH residents that were tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  In other words, do the residents of DISH have higher levels of harmful contaminants in their body than 95% of the US population due to natural gas drilling and processing in the area?  The simple answer to the question is no.  According to the report, “Although a number of VOCs were detected in some of the blood samples, the pattern of VOC values was not consistent with community-wide exposure to airborne contaminants, such as those that might be associated with natural gas drilling.”  The report went further in explaining that the 4 residents with the VOCs in their blood, specifically benzene, may have got the contaminants from other sources of exposure such as cigarette smoke… all 4 are smokers.  Likewise, the urine tests resulted in 3 people with detectable traces of benzene, “…two of whom were smokers and the third person had a value slightly above the detection limit.”

The TxDSHS’s conclusion states, “The information obtained from this investigation did not indicate that community-wide exposures from gas wells or compressor stations were occurring in the sample population.  This conclusion is based on the pattern of VOC values found in the samples.  Other sources of exposure such as cigarette smoking, the presence of disinfectant by-products in drinking water, and consumer or occupational/hobby related products could explain many of the findings.”

The result of this report is great news to the residents of DISH in that they are not being contaminated any more than the rest of the US.  For more information or to see the actual report visit the Regulatory, Environmental Info folder in the Barnett Shale Unconventional Update in DI’s DNA.

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Anne Leonard

In January 2015, Anne Leonard headed the team that launched the latest addition to DrillingInfo’s international publications, International Scout Frontier North America which covers the US Gulf of Mexico as well as Maritime and Arctic Canada. She has been reporting on exploration and production for more than 30 years. She began her career in Denver covering the Rocky Mountain Region, and has spent the last 10 years covering the international arena, with a particular focus on Latin America, Africa, Western Europe and the Far East. Anne received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nebraska.