April 23, 2014

Methane Baseline Completed in Minisink, NY

From the PRESS RELEASE: Covering the public roads in the area around the Minisink compressor site, GasSafetyUSA recorded and established that there are currently only normal low levels of pre-existing methane in Minisink (Download the Report as a pdf). “The test results demonstrate Minisink is now a clean area and that the compressor station will trigger an excessive and irreparable change to our local environment,” says Pramilla Malick, the spokeswoman for Stop the Minisink Compressor Station (www.StopMCS.org), a grass roots organization.

Also see the Damascus Township Baseline for another example of an area baseline test.

Gas Safety Incorporated Report to
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability

Baseline Methane Emissions in the
Minisink Area, Orange County, New York

February 2013
Bryce F. Payne Jr., Ph.D. and Robert Ackley

A baseline data set has been collected for Parts of the Town of Minisink, Orange County, New York. The Minisink survey area has very slightly elevated methane levels, with 6 locations above the area background. It should be noted that methane levels at almost all locations in Minisink were at local baseline levels. The data have been compiled, processed, and examined and found to be of high quality. The data indicate relatively low and reasonably consistent methane concentrations throughout the surveyed area. A general baseline value is important for assessing future changes in broad area methane levels, e.g., for evaluating whether or not the results of a future methane survey indicate new or unusual sources of methane have developed in the Town.

Field observations and interviews with residents confirmed gas transmission and distribution lines in the survey area. No effort was expended to confirm actual locations of gas lines or whether or where gas lines extended beyond the survey area. It is presumed the slightly elevated gas levels in the survey area may be related to the presence of the gas lines. Identification and measurement of potential gas leaks was beyond the scope of this work project.

Since no standard criteria for ambient air methane baselines currently exist, we elected to define for present purposes baseline criteria that could be readily applied by anyone using commonly available spreadsheet software, e.g., Microsoft Excel. For the surveyed area of Minisink this approach showed that 99% of all data in any similar future methane survey should be less than 2.34 ppm, 99.9% should be less than 3.5 ppm. Appropriate methods can be applied to the baseline data set to extract baseline methane levels for any specific location along the surveyed roadways. Other implications of the data are briefly discussed.

Download the Report as a pdf