Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program

Air quality is a main focus of the Oil and Gas Chapter of Broomfield’s Comprehensive Plan as well as the Extraction Operator Agreement.  These documents address specific action steps and Best Management Practices (BMPs) related to oil and gas development, operations, and concerns expressed by the public related to potential negative air quality impacts.  Contracting for air quality monitoring will support several of the stated policies and associated action steps, as well as inform long-term strategies that may be adopted by Broomfield to address concerns expressed by the public.

On August 28, 2018, City Council approved an air quality testing agreement with Ajax Analytics for air quality monitoring and testing near the Extraction well sites and in nearby neighborhoods, as well as for the development of a webpage to report air quality monitoring results. The air quality  program is a combined proposal of Colorado State University and Ajax Analytics. Through Colorado State University’s Plume Tracker, canister testing and analysis, and Ajax Analytics’ monitoring stations, the data generated will be able to identify trends and monitor operations at well sites and neighborhoods, to determine changes in volatile organic compounds, identify sources of emissions, and the age of emissions. Ajax and CSU will validate data and correlate results with standardized health exposure and safety limits.  The total cost of the proposal for three years is $1,762,768 for an annual average cost of $587,589 per year. 

Results of the Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program will be available here in January, 2019. 

Additionally, Broomfield will use this air quality data to provide:

  • Information supporting emergency response actions
  • Follow-up information to respond to citizen complaints and concerns
  • Information supporting follow-up inspections 
  • Data and trend analysis to support health decision and possible regulatory and statutory changes
Scientists at CSU and Ajax have established 18 testing locations throughout Broomfield as shown on the map below.  Also, shown on the map below is the location of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s mobile air quality unit called the Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory (CAMML), which began baseline testing on October 29th.  A map of the 18 testing locations follows. 

Air Monitoring Map
Click on image to view larger

A presentation on the air quality program was made to the Anthem Ranch Oil and Gas Committee on October 12, 2018.  Representatives of CSU and Ajax are available to make presentations regarding the program as requested.  

On October 4, 2018, Colorado State University and Ajax Analytics deployed the first four whole air samplers (6L stainless steel canisters) to collect weekly time-integrated air samples as part of Broomfield's Community-Scale Air Quality Monitoring Project.  Two canisters were located near the sites of future oil and gas activities, one was located near the Anthem Ranch neighborhood, and the fourth was located near Broomfield County Commons Fields. These samples will be used to establish baseline concentrations of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene, ahead of future oil and gas extraction activities. Installation of the City and County of Broomfield air quality monitoring stations at 18 locations (indicated on map) will provide important air quality metrics for the city and these stations will be installed on existing poles or tall fence posts installed by Ajax Analytics. Deployment of monitoring stations will have minimal impact on the landscape and vegetation. For sites without existing street light poles, Ajax Analytics will be installing 12’ fence posts. There may be a high-pitched ringing/banging sound for a short term as the posts are set. For sites with existing street light poles, staff may set cones for safety awareness at sites near roadways during installation activities.  It is anticipated that the monitoring stations will be deployed in early December. It is anticipated that testing results will start to be available on Broomfield/s website in January.   Attachment 3 is the Public Notice that was posted on the Oil and Gas webpage.

Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program Open House

Ajax, CSU and staff conducted an Air Quality Monitoring Study Open House on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at the City and County Building in Broomfield.  The Open House was published two times in the Broomfield Enterprise, was posted on Broomfield’s oil and gas webpage, B in the Loop, and email. 

Attendees learned more about how Broomfield’s air quality monitoring and testing program will be conducted, what tools and sensors will be used, and how results will be made accessible to the public. Representatives from the partnership between Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science and Ajax Analytics attended the event and were available to discuss the monitoring network and data analysis platform for Broomfield. CSU’s Plume Tracker was  onsite and available for touring.  A video of the Air Quality Monitoring Open House is available online and can be viewed here.

Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory

Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has placed its mobile air monitoring laboratory (CAMML) in Broomfield at a location that is northwest of the Livingston Pad and south of the Northwest Parkway.  The CDPHE completed baseline testing at the selected location from October 29, 2018, through late November.  The CDPHE will return the CAMML to do follow-up testing during hydraulic fracturing and flowback phases.

Extraction Baseline Air Quality and Sound Studies

Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) requires Extraction to provide updated baseline air quality and noise studies specific to the six well pads approved by the COGCC in Broomfield.  Extraction has submitted the contractor, process, and testing location for both of these studies to Broomfield for review.  Extraction’s proposal for these studies were reviewed by staff and consultants, with additional requirements requested by Broomfield, and the study proposals were administratively approved as required by the Operator Agreement and the CDP. This testing has now taken place and Broomfield is awaiting the results.  It is important that both of these studies are currently being conducted so that baseline testing can be completed before pad construction.  (View the baseline air monitoring information here and noise monitoring information here.)