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Noise, Lights and Fumes

Wells of earlier times were drilled in a few days. Marcellus wells will take weeks or months with generators, drilling machine and pumps going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rigs are tall and are lit up all night long.


The noise keeps people awake at night, and the fumes cause headaches.


Flaring is used to eliminate waste gas which is otherwise not feasible to use or transport. It also act as a safety system for non-waste gas and is released via pressure relief valve when needed to ease the strain on equipment. Gas processing equipment – pipelines, compressor stations, storage tanks, etc – all operate under pressure, and are responsible for significant and constant leaks.


Photographs by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

To the naked eye, no emissions from an oil storage tank are visible. But viewed with an infrared lens, escaping methane is evident. Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2.  

But the wells are not the only contributor to these effects. Compressor stations are needed to collect gas from wells and push it through the pipeline system. They are relatively permanent and they also run 24/7 and are lit up at night like a minor league baseball park. The noise is audible a half mile away.


See AIR for more on fumes. 

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