Fugitive Dust and Fracking Activities

The onset of fracking in many rural parts of West Virginia continues to bring a number of unwanted side effects to those living in those areas. These people suffer from fugitive dust and emissions that cause long-term chronic health consequences. The issue of fugitive dust associated with fracking activities is not new. It has been the focus of many studies, and has been described as “a mixture of chemicals, water and sand are forced at high pressure underground vertically, and sometimes horizontally as well.” Fugitive dust becomes a substantial issue when drilling operations increase pipeline and natural gas commerce, traffic, and road construction. As one observer has noted, “Air pollution from drilling operations can come in many forms, including dust from road building and drilling; pollution from flaring of gas [and] fumes from diesel trucks and generators; and emissions from drilling mud.”

From an environmental health and safety perspective, a health study done by one California county “revealed an increase of 3% in respiratory-related visits to healthcare providers for every 10 parts per billion increase in ground-level ozone that occurred the day before [and] ground-level ozone was observed at levels of 19 parts per billion to 84 parts per billion where adverse respiratory-related effects following ground-level ozone exposure have been extensively documented in numerous studies and include induction of respiratory illness symptoms, increased asthma attacks, increased hospital admissions, increased daily mortality, and other markers of morbidity.”

For many fracking based communities, the companies conducting the fracking typically have taken no responsibility whatsoever for the monitoring, recording, and otherwise testing the impact of fugitive dust. As a consequence, many state and federal agencies are looking to the industry for the “reporting of combustion equipment activity; fugitive dust emissions from on-site mixing operations and potential hydrocarbon and toxic emissions from drilling and fluids that return to the surface.”

Property owners find that in order to preserve their quality of life, including the use and enjoyment of their property, they are not able to keep their doors or windows open and cannot spend significant time outside or even run their air conditioning units for fear of bringing smells into the home. As one property owner has described, “We can’t even sit there in the evenings when it’s hot and have our door open without being just smothered, literally smothered by the smell.” Other property owners complain of the onset of significant medical conditions from the smells including bloody noses, headaches, and nausea.

Let our Attorneys Help You Today

If you or someone you know has suffered personal harm, medical issues, or other property damage as a result of fracking, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters and can evaluate your potential legal claims on your behalf.


by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on