Guilford Township, Medina County, Ohio: Concerned residents recently invited Earthworks, an environmental nonprofit, to capture video evidence of normally invisible air pollution at the Wadsworth Compressor Station. The optical gas imaging video released today shows pollution that is likely permissible under current Ohio law.
The NEXUS (Wadsworth) compressor station began operation November 7, 2018. This industrial facility pushes fracked natural gas through the NEXUS pipeline at a speed of 800 mph and houses 29,517 horsepower turbine compressor pumps. The compressor station is permitted to release health-harming and climate-disrupting chemicals.
“Having your health is vital enjoying life in rural Medina County and the both the youngest and oldest residents of our community will be most susceptible to these toxic emissions,” said Pauline Chapman of Montville Township.
The pollution comes from fracked natural gas fired turbines and large releases called “blowdowns” that the facility is permitted to conduct 260 times a year–which would equate to a blowdown every 32 hours. In addition to this permitted pollution, compressor stations can experience gas leaks and unexpected upsets that release additional toxins.
Earthworks is ITC Certified to operate the FLIR GF320 camera, the same model employed by the Ohio EPA, US EPA, and many gas companies. The camera is specifically calibrated and independently tested to detect and visually record the presence of 20 volatile organic compounds associated with the gas and oil industry, including many with known health risks, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. The camera also records methane – the primary component of natural gas – a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
“This tool allows us to show pollution that would otherwise be invisible. It provides evidence that fracked gas is not a “clean” energy source, and let’s communities see the pollution they are living with,” said Ohio/PA Field Advocate Leann Leiter of Earthworks, whose team visited the site last month.
“It is important for residents to understand what is being emitted into the air in Medina County because even people living near much smaller compressor stations have had serious health effects,” said Lynn Kemp of York Township.
“Even though operators have permits to pollute, those pollution levels may still harm health and they definitely harm the climate,” said Mary Emhoff of Brunswick Hills Township.
— END —