Filling the Void: A Citizens’ Audit of Ohio Oil and Gas Waste Disposal Wells

Filling the Void: A Citizens’ Audit of Ohio 

Oil and Gas Waste Disposal Wells

Nathan Rutz and Melissa English

Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

December 2014

Community Air Screen Program – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Community Air Screen Program – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

Community Air Screen Program

What is the Community Air Screen program?

Little girl holding onto a tree

If you are concerned about what is in the air in your neighborhood, check out the Community Air Screen program. This new community-based program works with volunteers from local communities to screen for toxic air pollutants in order to begin to address some local air quality concerns. The goal of the Community Air Screen program is for community groups and citizens to partner with DEC to collect local-scale air samples.

Who Is Eligible?

Individuals as well as not-for-profits and neighborhood and community groups in New York State may apply. Priority is given to projects in or near low-income and minority communities and public locations where people are more likely to spend time outdoors.

Approximately 12 to 18 applicants will be selected for this program. A total number of sixty (60) air samples will be analyzed statewide.

Consider partnering with other concerned citizens or community groups in your neighborhood to strengthen your chance of being selected.

How to Apply:

Applications must be postmarked or emailed by midnight, May 24, 2012. The application is available in the right column as a downloadable PDF.

The application process is very easy – four simple questions – four page limit.

Complete the application using the writable PDF downloaded to your computer or by printing out a paper copy. Return the application to DEC postmarked or emailed by midnight May 24, 2012.

  • Describe your local air quality concerns fully in Part 3 and Part 4 of the application.
  • Limit your answers to the four page application form.
  • All applicants will be notified by June 25, 2012 as to their acceptance.

Application return addresses: Email: or

Mail: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Community Air Screen Program
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-3259

What should I know before applying?

  • What am I responsible for?
  • What is the time commitment?
  • How does the sampling equipment work?
  • What information do I need to record during sampling?
  • What should you consider for sampling?

Frequently Asked Questions

Other Questions? Email us at or call 518-402-8044.

Other Communities Participating in Citizen Sampling Programs

(see right column “Links Leaving DEC’s website”)

Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency – Citizen Air Sampling Program

Western Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation – Community Air Sampling Program

Additional Information

More about Community Air Screen Program:

New Report Reveals Toxic Air Near Natural Gas Operations 7/12/11

New Report Reveals Toxic Air Near Natural Gas Operations   

Citizen Samples Confirm Neighboring Communities at Risk



Denny Larson, Global Community Monitor, 415-845-4705

Josh Joswick, San Juan Citizens Alliance, 970-259-3583

Shirley McNall, San Juan County, NM Residents Worried About Our Health, 505-334-6534

Paul Light, Battlement Concerned Citizens, 970-285-7791

New Report Reveals Toxic Air Near Natural Gas Operations

Citizen Samples Confirm Neighboring Communities at Risk

El Cerrito, CA– Citizen sampling of air quality near natural gas production facilities has identified highly unsafe levels of toxic chemicals near homes, playgrounds, schools and community centers in Colorado and New Mexico. A new report issued by Global Community Monitor, GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development, details the air sampling results, environmental and public health threats with living amid the natural gas boom.

A coalition of environmental and community based organizations in Colorado and New Mexico collected nine air samples that were analyzed by a certified lab. The lab detected a total of 22 toxic chemicals in the air samples, including four known carcinogens, as well as toxins known to damage the nervous system and respiratory irritants. The chemicals detected ranged from 3 to 3,000 times higher than what is considered safe by state and federal agencies. Sampling was conducted in the San Juan Basin area of Colorado and New Mexico, as well as Garfield County in western Colorado.

“Carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and acrylonitrile should not be in the air we breathe – and certainly not at these potentially harmful levels,” said Dr. Mark Chernaik, scientist. “These results suggest neighboring communities are not being protected and their long-term health is being put at risk.”

“My husband, pets, and I have experienced respiratory and other health related problems during the twelve years we have lived on Cow Canyon Road in La Plata County, Colorado.  We believe these health issues are related to the air quality in our neighborhood and in the area,” said Jeri L. Montgomery, neighbor of natural gas development. Through the course of the pilot study, neighbors of natural gas production facilities documented chemical odors and sampled the air. Neighbors have appealed to local, state and national government agencies to investigate their air quality complaints, to limited recourse.

“We are very concerned about the total disregard for the health and welfare of the people “existing” near the sickening toxic oil and gas industry dumps located in neighborhoods such as the land farm on Crouch Mesa and the waste disposal facility in Bloomfield that are permitted and approved by the State of New Mexico and Federal EPA,” said Shirley McNall, member of San Juan County, NM Residents Worried About Our Health.

“Experts and agencies recognize more air monitoring is needed, but it’s not happening,” said Paul Light, co-chair of the Battlement Concerned Citizens. “Rather than wait for the government, we used the Bucket Brigade to collect much-needed air quality information.”

The community and environmental groups in the San Juan Basin and western Colorado worked with Global Community Monitor, which trains community members living near industrial operations to run their own “Bucket Brigade” to sample their air. The Bucket Brigade has been used in 27 countries internationally. The bucket uses EPA methods for testing and an independent lab for air sample analysis.

Complaints about air quality have also surfaced in other states around the country, including West Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming. Little information exists to educate and inform citizens about the chemicals being stored, emitted into the air, ground or water in close proximity to their homes. “People are getting gassed, and they don’t even know what is coming at them. The air monitoring provides crucial information in understanding what families are being exposed to on a day-to-day basis,” said Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor.

Federal loopholes in the Clean Air Act allow major corporations to circumvent basic protections that put public health first. US EPA is currently drafting new regulations to control and monitor air pollution from natural gas development. Congress is debating new legislation, such as the Bringing Reductions to Energies Air Born Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act.

As regulation moves forward, GASSED! states that solutions are possible. The natural gas industry should invest in pollution controls to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of chemicals in the air. The report also calls for mandatory air monitoring at all natural gas operations and disclosure of chemicals used in the process to local residents.

In addition, the proximity of neighbors and wells is often too close. The report recommends a minimum quarter mile buffer zone between homes, schools and natural gas operations. This is similar to regulations enacted by Tulare County, CA on pesticide spray and St. Charles Parish, LA on industrial development. The report further states, “As the natural gas industry continues to grow, so will the number of families neighboring and affected by the emissions. Industry and government leaders have a unique opportunity to address public health and environmental issues. For coexistence between communities and gas industry to be possible, chemical exposure has to be immediately addressed.”

The full report can be downloaded at: Gassed! Full Report

Download the Appendix:

Complete Air Samples Results Spreadsheet

Full Air Sample Data Interpretation Letter from Mark Chernaik, Phd

gassedreport.pdf (application/pdf Object)

gassedreport.pdf (application/pdf Object).

GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development
July 2011   Global Community Monitor