Glycol Dehydrators, Benzene, Blowdowns, and Cold Weather at Urban Compressor Stations

I had the pleasure to dig through a huge and expensive open records request for emissions inventory equipment for Lake Arlington’s Compressor Station (near Lake Arlington-our drinking water source) where high Formaldehyde was uncovered through an industry funded BSEEC Titan air test in the summer (June) of 2010. This is where I saw how many glycol dehydrators and glycol reboilers they have . The good news was that they reported to have condensers on each glycol unit which can control up to 98% VOC’s.

While Benzene did not exceed the threshold marks for the Titan air test, it is fair to say that “there is NO safe level of exposure for Benzene”.

Earthworks reported that Benzene can be controlled on glycol units through employing emissions mitigation equipment such as condensers, flare stacks (which isn’t urban “standard”), & incinerators for the still colum vents. Also emissions controls include using minimum circulation rates to lower fuel pump use.

But what about air toxins at our Arlington Compressor Station #1 that is at Eden and Harris east of Cooper Street?


Arlington Compressor Station #1 at Harris/Eden and east of Cooper Street.

FYI Arlington Compressor Station #2 failed to be built at 360 and Forum in southeast Arlington. This is the same one that earlier Grand Prairie TX rejected….

The Star Telegram reported (on the resulting lawsuit) that disallowing the compressor station is causing the company irreparable harm, and they (unsuccessully) sought to have a judge slap an injunction on Grand Prairie…

“Grand Prairie does not have the right to require a SUP [special-use permit], as municipalities may not enforce or regulate the location of pipeline facilities in which compressor stations are categorized,” a Chesapeake spokesperson said.

So what followed about two years later was that slick willy Arlington approved the “badly needed”? compressor station (#2)….on the Grand Prairie line. I recall how there was this “emergency vote” needed.  I asked for this not to be passed until we knew how many blowdowns (planned maintenance that releases raw, unprocessed gases), and also until we know what and how much is in those blowdowns per year. I also stressed that we don’t even have provisions for compressor stations in our gas drilling ordinance.

But our city complied to blindly pass this through “roughshod and all”.  All this was before the NG prices bottomed out.

I also recall going to the AISD school board meeting and telling them not to build that proposed school near where the compressor station was to be built, but it was a done deal to build that school there regardless.

So Arlington has actually three compressor stations and another one that has been fast tracked that could be built unless that permit had a time frame.

1) Lake Arlington Compressor Station LACS

2) Handley Compressor Station (near the Exelon plant power and adjacent to LACS)

3) Arlington Compressor Station #1 (DFW Midstream) in southwest Arlington


NONE of us breathers should feel comfortable being downwind to ANY urban compressor stations until …

1) air testing occurs DURING planned maintenance/blowdowns (Formaldehyde too)

2) air testing occurs DURING cold winter months where Benzene lingers

3) an inoculation is invented for BTEX, formaldehyde and Radionuclides…yah right.

So what do we know about the air tests that HAVE been done at the Arlington Compressor Station #1?….

Well one of eight TCEQ air tests done there exceded the longterm Effect Screening Level (ESL) for Benzene (which is 1.41 ppb) and registered 2.3 ppb on a 30 minute air test on ACL# 1203037. The temperature was around 77 degrees and the winds were about 8 mph when the air was sampled. Imagine how much Benzene could have been detected if the winds were calm and the temps were cold?….or during a blow down/maintenance or upset?

I wonder if the Benzene detected there was due to any of the glycol emission control devices failing during the air test? We need continuous air monitoring downwind in the neighborhood due to this compressor station blowing straight to one of the most densely populated neighborhood.

The other seven TCEQ suma canister air tests taken at Arlington Compressor Station #1 were taken during the warmer months from May-Sept in 2013 and did not exceed the Benzene ESL.

Sadly Formaldehyde has not yet been tested for at our Arlington Compressor Station #1 because the suma canisters are not equipped, and no one else seems to care enough to te$t and tell us.

So….what caused the Benzene exceedance on March 26, 2012 on a thirty minute air sample that registered 2.3 ppb Benzene on canister #20110 on ACL test #1203037

Was it the Glycol units missing their emission control devices?

Was it during a blowdown whether planned or emergency shutdown related?

Here is some other storage tank and lift compressor emissions info I’ve gathered and….

Here is an example of what Lean reported from Exxon Chemical in Baton Rouge (near where my son goes to LSU)  DUE TO A TRIP OF THE NC01 COMPRESSOR, that resulted in an emergency shut down and  emissions went to a flare on Nov 20, 2013…generally flaring is not an urban acceptable process.




About Kim Triolo Feil

Since TX Statute 253.005 forbids drilling in heavily settled municipalities, I unsuccessfully ran for City Council Seat to try to enforce this. Since Urban Drilling, our drinking water has almost tripled for TTHM's. Before moving to Arlington in 1990, I lived in Norco’s “cancer alley”, a refinery town. It was only after Urban Drilling in Arlington did I start having health effects. After our drill site was established closest to my home, the chronic nosebleeds started. I know there are more canaries here in Arlington having reactions to our industrialized airshed (we have 55-60 padsites of gas wells). Come forward and report to me those having health issues especially if you live to the north/northwest of a drill site so I can map your health effects on this blog. My youtube account is KimFeilGood. FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. MATERIAL FROM DIVERSE AND SOMETIMES TEMPORARY SOURCES IS BEING MADE AVAILABLE IN A PERMANENT UNIFIED MANNER, AS PART OF AN EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH EMINENT DOMAIN AND THE PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE (AMONG OTHER THINGS). IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS IS A 'FAIR USE' OF THE INFORMATION AS ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 USC SECTION 107, THE SITE IS MAINTAINED WITHOUT PROFIT FOR THOSE WHO ACCESS IT FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/ TO USE MATERIAL REPRODUCED ON THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES THAT GO BEYOND 'FAIR USE', PERMISSION IS REQUIRED FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER INDICATED WITH A NAME AND INTERNET LINK AT THE END OF EACH ITEM. (NOTE: THE TEXT OF THIS NOTICE WAS ALSO LIFTED FROM CORRIDORNEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM)
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2 Responses to Glycol Dehydrators, Benzene, Blowdowns, and Cold Weather at Urban Compressor Stations

  1. veraduerga says:

    you have good suggestions to reduce the pollution from the compressor stations; is anyone in local government or beyond considering any of these suggestions?

  2. Unfortunately local gov defers to the state and the drillers say they are compliant.

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