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Wyoming created a tool for testing emissions from disposal ponds and won an award 


Wyoming has a new way for testing emissions related to oil and gas production, and the state won an award for it.

The Wyoming Pond Emissions Calculator is a first of its kind.

“So this tool would be used for a commercial oilfield waste disposal facility,” Andrew Keyfauver, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Division (AQD) New Source Review program manager. “It's generally a facility that takes produced water and stores it in a pond prior to disposal and then injection well or treatment. So this tool estimates emissions from that pond or standing water while it's there.”

When it comes to oil and gas production, there are good methods for studying emissions from the actual plants and infrastructure, but not necessarily ponds or standing water.

“It was an area where emissions estimates were very questionable at times because there wasn't a lot of data or information about these ponds or facilities,” Keyfauver said.

The tool is over a decade in the making. AQD identified commercial oil waste disposal facilities as likely emission sources after high ozone levels were reported in the Upper Green River Basin starting in 2005. But this tool was needed to accurately measure the disposal ponds.

“We collected data from air and water sampling events at multiple facilities to develop models for different chemical classes,” he said. “The results were a tool that fits Wyoming’s specific needs and provides information relevant to Wyoming’s air quality.”

Keyfauver said the tool will soon be used by some Wyoming operators.

It also received an award from the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, which works to improve air quality nationwide.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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