Compressor station on Federal Road in Erin, NY (Chemung County).
When Calvin Tillman, mayor of Dish, Texas came to visit upstate New York in February, he talked about the air quality issues facing his small town. Dish is in the heart of the Barnett shale and at the crossroads where 11 high pressure natural gas pipelines converge. Five energy companies have installed a dozen compressors and associated gas treatment facilities; there are four gas metering stations in town and 18 gas wells within the corporate limits. Another 50-plus gas wells are located immediately beyond the town’s limits.
The problem, he said, is that toxic emissions from the compressors are causing health problems for residents in town. Finally the Texas State Dept. of Health took heed and, in January, they took blood and urine samples from 28 people in the little town. Today, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe reports in the Denton-Record Chronicle that the same pollutants found in the air are also found in residents' bodies.
The health department found toluene, butadiene, and N,N-dimethylformamide in the samples. , notes Heinkel-Wolfe. According to studies compiled by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, dimethylformamide can cause liver damage, butadiene can cause cancer and toluene can affect the nervous system and the kidneys.
But while everyone has been focusing on the pollutants in the air, they've been overlooking the water contamination. Last August researchers found