Student/Faculty Research Day

Student/Faculty Research Day

PM2.5 Airborne Particulates Near Frac Sand Operations
Jonathan Jilek; Kristen Walters; Alayna Spengler ; Bethany Valentine; Jennifer Schmitz; Christopher Conrad; Zachary
Kroening; Ian Wetzel; Cory White; and Jonathan Dahlen (UW-Stout), Dr. Crispin Pierce, Professor Environmental Public
Health, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Environmental Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Introduction

Results

o Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a popular method for
extracting natural gas from shale deposits below the
earths crust. (7,8,9)
o The geology of Wisconsin has optimal sand deposits for
the process. (7,9)
o The number of frac sand mines in WI has greatly
increased in recent years. (see figure 7)
o Over 110 permitted frac sand mines & processing
plants are located in Wisconsin. (See figure 1) (3,7)
o Frac sand is used during extraction as a proppant to hold
open the fractured shale during removal of natural gas (3).
o Crystalline silica & other small particulate matter have
been shown to be a concern for health. (1,4,5)
o Freshly-fractured silica appears to be 2 to 5 times more
reactive with animal lung tissue than weathered silica,
though weathering occurs within several days & with
exposure to water. (5)
o Numerous reports of dust accumulation at peoples
homes & businesses have led to an increased need to
investigating air quality surrounding those frac sand
facilities. (3)

o PM2.5 levels during the five sampling events ranged from
5.8250.8 g/m3. (see figure 2)
o Monitoring of PM2.5 conducted in a controlled environment
with multiple devices showed results of between 5-17.74
g/m3. (see figure 3)
o Monitors from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
(MPCA) in Winona, MN showed similar results to our
data. (see figure 4 & 5)
o Levels of PM2.5 affected by precipitation, wind speed, &
degree of frac sand facility activity.
Average PM2.5 Concentration in HSS 218 Lab
17.74

PM2.5 Concentration ug/m3

16
14

14

o Elevated levels of PM2.5 during active frac sand mining &
processing operations. (see figure 3)

13.7

12
10

o consistent with our findings using a TSI DustTrak 8520
aerosol monitor (a battery-operated, portable light-scattering
laser photometer) used extensively in particulate
measurement.

8
6

5

4
2
0

Air Sampling Instruments
DustTrak II

DustTrak I

SKC DPS

Dichot Sampler

Figure 3: A calculated average of PM2.5 concentrations were taken in a controlled environment in HSS 218 Research Lab at
UW- Eau Claire. Standard deviations (S.D.) were not used for instruments DustTrak I and II. DPS displayed a S.D. of +/3.74 and Dichot displayed a S.D. of +/- 1.23. (3)

60

Concentration (ug/m3)

50

US EPA annual
PM2.5 standard
of 12 g/m3

40

o Future research with federal-reference Andersen
dichotomous sampler & direct reading instruments
o Provide testing options for local health departments using less
expensive instruments.

Measured 24-Hour PM2.5 Levels

30

o Health departments & elected officials face questions
about health risks associated with frac sand mining.
o More research needed to make informed decisions regarding
policy making & when creating regulations.

20

10

Figure 1: WI map of frac sand site. (6)

Methods
o 24-Hour ambient air samples were collected with an SKC
DPS sampler using the PM2.5 sampling head.
o Sampling was conducted near mining sites using the
DPS, TSI DustTrak I 8520, and the TSI DustTrak II
8530 and compared to local monitors, if available.
o Sampling was conducted on the top of the research
building and in the lab using the Andersen dichotomous
sampler, DPS, TSI DustTrak I 8520, and the TSI
DustTrak II 8530.
o PVC filters were weighed pre- & post-exposure 6 times
using a Mettler Toledo AT261 DeltaRange balance for
the DPS and the Andersen sampler.
o The PM2.5 sample inlet was mounted 2 m high, away from
buildings & trees, as described in EPA sampling protocol.
o Temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, &
GPS coordinates were also recorded at each site.

Bridge Creek

Arcadia

New Auburn

New Auburn

Winona

Figure 2: Locations & Measured PM2.5 concentrations near frac sand mining & processing sites. Results with S.D. were
calculated as: Bridge Creek 13.8+/- 6.79 g/m3,Arcadia 13.8+/- 6.79 g/m3, New Auburn 50.8+/-9.48 g/m3, New Auburn
23.6+/-3.16 g/m3, Winona 19.6+/-1.74 g/m3. (3)
Figure 8: Jennifer Scmidtz, Jon Jilek, Alayna
Spangler, & Kristen Walters; part of the
current research team testing our new
Andersen dichotomous samplers & the DPS.

Site 1 Winona Hourly PM2.5 Samples
12

10
Concentration (ug/m3)

o Quantitatively characterize the PM2.5 & PM10 particulate
concentrations in the air around frac sand facilities &
evaluate the risk as compared to national standards.

0

8

US EPA annual
PM2.5 standard
of 12 g/m3

6

4

2

0
Air Sampling Instruments
MPCA

DustTrak I

DustTrak II

Figure 4: A calculated average of PM2.5 concentrations were taken near an active frac sand site in Winona, MN. Data from
the DustTrack I and DustTrack II compared to data from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. monitor located in
Winona, MN (MPCA). MPCA reported 5 g/m3, DustTrack I displayed 9.80.84 g/m3, DustTrack II displayed 4.60.55. (3)

Site 3 Winona 22-Hour PM2.5 Sample
US EPA annual
PM2.5 standard
of 12 g/m3

20

Concentration (ug/m3)

Purpose

Figure 7: The increase in frac sand production in WI
from 1975-2011. (6)

Conclusions & Recommendations

20
18

Figure 6: Photo of Superior Silica Sand mine
in Bloomer, WI on November 5, 2011. (2)

15

References
1. Health effects of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. (April 2002). Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2002-129/
2. Kenosian, M. (2014) Photo Board, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Environmental Public health. Retrieved from
http://www.uwec.edu/Watershed/enph/silica/PhotoGallery.htm
3. Pierce, C. (April 2014). PM2.5 Airborne Particulates near Frac Sand Operations. [Word Document].
4. Pope, C.A., Burnett, R.T., Thun, M.J., Calle, E.E., Krewski, D., Ito, K., & Thurston, G.D. (2002). Lung cancer,
cardiopulmonary mortality, and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. The Journal of the American
Medical Association, 287, 1132-1141. doi:10.1001/jama.287.9.1132.
5. Vallyathan, V., Castranova, V., Pack, D., Leonard, S., Shumaker, J., Hubbs, A.F., Shoemaker, D.A., Ramsey, D.M.,
Pretty, J.R., McLaurin, J.L., et al. (1995). Freshly fractured quartz inhalation leads to enhanced injury and
inflammation. Potential role of freeradicals. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 152(3), 10039.
6. Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. (2013). Frac sand mines and plants, October 2013 update [Data file].
Retrieved from http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/wi-frac-sand/
7. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (2011). Report to the Natural Resources Board: Silica Study, August
2011, AM-407. Retrieved from http://dnr.wi.gov/files/pdf/pubs/am/am407.pdf.
8. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (2012). Silica sand mining in Wisconsin. Retrieved from
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/documents/SilicaSandMiningFinal.pdf
9. Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, University of WisconsinExtension. (2013). Frac sand in Wisconsin.
Retrieved from http://wisconsingeologicalsurvey.org/pdfs/frac-sand-factsheet.pdf

Acknowledgments

10

5

0
MPCA

DPS Filter

Figure 5: A calculated average of PM2.5 concentrations were taken near an active frac sand site in Winona, MN. Data from
the DPS compared to data from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency monitor located in Winona, MN (MPCA).The
MPCA reported 13.44.0 g/m3 . The DPS displayed 19.71.7 g/m3.(3)

Thank you to the UW-Eau Claire Office of
Research & Sponsored Programs for funding this
project & the office of Learning & Technology
Services for printing this poster.

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