Light Gas Analysis – From Concerns to Solutions

Collaborative Efforts to Improve Environmental Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by R. Vitale, D. Gratson, S. Brower, L. Work
Environmental Standards, Inc., 1140 Valley Forge Road, PO Box 810, Valley Forge, PA, 19482, United States


Contact Information: [email protected]; 610 304-9972


ABSTRACT

Analysis of methane and other light hydrocarbon gases in water has become of regulatory interest due to significant expansion of shale gas drilling. Methane in aqueous media is not currently regulated by the US EPA; however, a number of states have elected to regulate methane in groundwater potentially used for potable purposes.

Currently, there is one published consensus method (ASTM D8028-17), which has limited single-laboratory study data, available to guide the analysis techniques for commercial and governmental laboratories. For a variety of reasons, this standard is rarely used by commercial laboratories. An unpublished, US EPA standard operating procedure (SOP) known as RSK SOP-175 has been in use for many years, along with a notable number of variations developed by the commercial laboratory community.

The presentation will provide an overview and the results of the final phase of a multi-year collaborative study involving laboratory, government, and consulting entities that was sponsored by the oil and gas industries’ Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). Environmental Standards, Inc., designed all the studies, including the final multi-laboratory study that included eight participating laboratories (including one state and one US EPA laboratory). The sponsors and stakeholders undertook this effort to ensure that a multi-laboratory validated method for potable groundwater sources, with known accuracy and precision, would be available to the laboratory community to appropriately protect public health.