The state Department of Environmental Protection says that the amount of nitrogen dioxide emitted by an air compressor station in Penn Township is safe, according to a four-day study the bureau conducted last month.
Nitrogen dioxide is a "highly toxic, reddish brown gas that forms in the atmosphere primarily from fuel combustion," according to the DEP report. It "contributes to the creation of acid rain, ozone formation, and plays a key role in nitrogen loading, adversely impacting forests and other ecosystems."
The Barto compressor station, located at 3588 Beaver Lake Road and owned by PVR NEPA Gas Gathering, LLC, has nine engines, which run on natural gas and take recently collected natural gas and compact it for efficient transfer through pipelines.
The Clean Air Council of Pennsylvania released a report based on a modeling study by consulting firm AMI Environmental, of Nevada, in January, that said the Barto station is producing two to three times the National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 100 parts per billion, per hour.
The DEP study, conducted the week of July 22, found that the maximum one-hour average was 5.9 parts per billion was well below the national standard.
"DEP is committed to understanding the impacts of the natural gas industry on public health and the environment," acting DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said in a statement. "We will continue to conduct air sampling studies to ensure the quality of Pennsylvania's air and the protection of its citizens while this clean, domestic fuel source is being developed, processed and used."
"(DEP) did some short-term monitoring and came to a different conclusion that what our modeling showed," Joe Minnott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, said. "That tells me that we need to get from them all of the data gathering, all of the meteorological data, and everything related to short-term monitoring and send it to our consultant. We'll see whether we think that their results are sound or not. If both sets of data are accurate we may need to do some long-term monitoring."
The Barto station was issued a permit by the DEP in February 2012.