DEQ , industry working to pinpoint emissions

Joy Ufford photos Anticline Disposal’s display shows ‘bad’ water, left, as it comes into the facility, in the middle of cleaning, center, and right, squeaky clean enough to go into the New Fork River, according to plant manager Mike Johnson.

About 70 attend pre-winter ozone meeting in Boulder

Different avenues to understand

and alleviate the Upper Green River

Basin’s winter ozone converged at the Wyoming

Department of Environmental Quality’s

pre-winter ozone season public meeting in


Seventy or so people – residents, officials,

operators and staff – attended the two-hour

program and open house Nov. 18 at the Boulder

Community Center.

“Is anybody here from the (Bureau of Land

Management) – raise your hand?” retired BLM

archeologist Dave Vlcek asked later. No one


First, DEQ Air Quality Division Administrator

Nancy Vehr spoke, followed by AQD’s

Darla Potter and Wyoming Department of

Health’s Dr. Alexa Harrist.

Vehr recapped last spring’s ozone exceedances

in March at the DEQ’s Boulder air-quality

monitoring station, saying they occurred

with winds from the southwest.

Using a complex formula, the 2019 “design

value” for ozone was .072, compared to .058 in

2018 and .075 in 2017. The federal ozone standard

is 70 parts per billion for an eight-hour

rolling average.

Every five years, the Environmental Protection

Agency reviews and sometimes revises its

federal air quality standards, which could happen

in Spring 2020 with an opportunity for

public comments, Potter said.

While the DEQ hoped to hire a third fulltime

emissions inspector to check on Pinedale

Anticline, Jonah Energy, Pinedale Energy

Partners and other operators’ facilities, Vehr

said it will remain at two. Inspectors Stafford

Polk and Cindy Etcheverre now have an office

DEQ , industry working to pinpoint emissions

By Joy Ufford, [email protected]

Big Piney plows ahead with winter parking ordinance

behind the BLM’s Stromness Building.

However, Gov. Mark Gordon’s new budget

shows these will be funded by the state, she

said, instead of the Jonah and Anticline mitigation

funds that sunset June 30, 2020.

“I recommended three full-time positions,”

Vehr said. “But those two will be safe, funded


The DEQ will focus more on compliance

inspections and enforcement, she said, after

DEQ inspections January through March revealed

many leaks in operators’ facilities and


Engine checks

“The Upper Green River Basin ozone study

this year is more objectives based,” Potter said,

with more coverage than previous winters. The

AQD is working with operators to add monitoring

sensors in different locations, including

Jonah Energy and Pinedale Energy Partners’

installation of meteorological sensors.

As “a direct result of last winter,” she said,

the DEQ has a new “enhanced engine compliance

assurance” program with inspectors

checking cooperating operators’ stationary engines

with more than 100 horsepower monthly

for carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Later, DEQ’s Lars Lone said 3-minute spot

checks include compressors and generators and

for now only occur in the Upper Green River

Basin. Etcheverre said the goal is to make operators

aware of how well their engines run –

or not – and make sure they run properly.

When asked about adding in emissions

from 100 or so wells drilled in the past year,

Potter said the DEQ’s mandate is that emissions

cannot prevent attainment of the EPA’s

ozone standard. “Do you feel like we’re reducing

(emissions) at the same rate to keep us with

(new wells),” asked Carmel Kail.

Vehr replied, “Companies have to demonstrate

to the DEQ they won’t prevent

About 70 attend pre-winter

ozone meeting in Boulder

By Joy Ufford, [email protected]

attainment” and newly permitted engines that

might require one-time checks will now be

tested before and after a winter ozone season.

“We will hear that the industry has done a

lot of work to reduce further,” she said. “We’ll

have to see how this season turns out.”

Potter added, the DEQ will help replace

some Sublette County school buses to “lower

emissions emitted near our children” funded

by Volkswagen’s Clean Air Act civil settlement

“that we are really excited about.”

Underway are efforts for better communication

with Citizens United for Responsible

Energy Development (CURED), EPA and the

new Jonah Pinedale Industry Collaboration of

five companies to focus on technology, compliance

and emission reductions.

New acronym

Ultra environmental engineer Todd Rudolph

spoke about the JPIC group formed in

May that includes Anticline Disposal, Ultra,

Pinedale Energy Partners, Jonah Energy and

MPLX LP, a Marathon Petroleum partnership.

They meet monthly or as needed and represent

more than 400 employees, he added.

It is not industry’s first collaborative effort

in the Upper Green but this has more of a “renewed

and different focus on new ideas” and

increased transparency with DEQ, he said.

“Right off the bat we started sharing ideas

and will be discussing ideas in real time during

the 2020 season.”

The group is making changes for “increased

and enhanced monitoring on it own” and operators

plan to host visits for each other’s employees.

Ultra powers about 350 pneumatic heat

trace pumps with solar panels with another

236 to go.

The previous week in Pinedale, Ultra’s

Kelly Bott outlined commitments to find and

repair leaks as quickly as possible with additional

infrared cameras and more trained


Jonah Energy is consolidating its facilities

for existing and new wells, according to Paul


Anticline Disposal installed a “much more

efficient” submerged combustion heater this

year at its water treatment facility to heat and

evaporate water.

Also, DEQ’s Cara Keslar said the long-running

disposal pond study has led to the Wyoming

Pond Emissions Calculator “tool” that

would correlate air and water samples for new

permits for produced water facilities.

Healthy air

Dr. Harrist addressed health issues.

“That’s why we’re all here, really,” she said

of ozone’s variable and unpredictable negative

health effects. “Be aware of the ozone levels

in your communities and take steps to reduce

your level of activity outdoors.

She provided the audience with the American

Lung Association’s grades for Sublette

County, which gets a D for ozone and B for

24-hour particle pollution.

Of the county’s total population of 9,799

people, 193 are at risk for pediatric asthma,

690 for adult asthma, 538 for COPD, four with

lung cancer, 698 for cardiovascular disease,

643 risk to low-income and 746 risks to people

with diabetes, according to “State of the Air


There are 2,248 risks to children and teens

under 18 and 1,795 risks to older adults over


For more information

To learn more about the Wyoming DEQ’s

Air Quality Division and history of Upper

Green River Basin’s winter ozone, visit http://, visit www.winterozone.

org or email questions to [email protected]


For current “live” ozone air-quality levels,


To get DEQ emails about 2020 UBRB

ozone outlooks and ozone exceedances, subscribe


air-quality-winter-ozone/. If you were a subscriber

in 2019, you need to renew your subscription

for the upcoming ozone season.

For more ozone health information, visit


Video News
More In Home Page