Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program

Air quality is a main focus of the Oil and Gas Chapter of Broomfield’s Comprehensive Plan as well as the Extraction Operator Agreement.  These documents address specific action steps and Best Management Practices (BMPs) related to oil and gas development, operations, and concerns expressed by the public related to potential negative air quality impacts.  Contracting for air quality monitoring will support several of the stated policies and associated action steps, as well as inform long-term strategies that may be adopted by Broomfield to address concerns expressed by the public.

On August 28, 2018, City Council approved an air quality testing agreement with Ajax Analytics for air quality monitoring and testing near the Extraction well sites and in nearby neighborhoods, as well as for the development of a webpage to report air quality monitoring results. The air quality  program is a combined proposal of Colorado State University and Ajax Analytics. Through Colorado State University’s Plume Tracker, canister testing and analysis, and Ajax Analytics’ monitoring stations, the data generated will be able to identify trends and monitor operations at well sites and neighborhoods, to determine changes in volatile organic compounds, identify sources of emissions, and the age of emissions. Ajax and CSU will validate data and correlate results with standardized health exposure and safety limits.  The total cost of the proposal for three years is $1,762,768 for an annual average cost of $587,589 per year. 

Results of the Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program will be available in early 2019. 

Additionally, Broomfield will use this air quality data to provide:

  • Information supporting emergency response actions
  • Follow-up information to respond to citizen complaints and concerns
  • Information supporting follow-up inspections 
  • Data and trend analysis to support health decision and possible regulatory and statutory changes
Scientists at CSU and Ajax have established 18 testing locations throughout Broomfield as shown on the map below.  A 19th location was added in January 2019 to collect data from the Acme pad in Erie.  Also, shown on the map below is the location of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s mobile air quality unit called the Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory (CAMML), which collected baseline testing October 29th to November 16th.

A map of the 19 testing locations follows. 

Air Monitoring Map
Click on image to view larger

A presentation on the air quality program was made to the Anthem Ranch Oil and Gas Committee on October 12, 2018.  Representatives of CSU and Ajax are available to make presentations regarding the program as requested.  

On October 4, 2018, Colorado State University and Ajax Analytics deployed the first four whole air samplers (6L stainless steel canisters) to collect weekly time-integrated air samples as part of Broomfield's Community-Scale Air Quality Monitoring Project.  Two canisters were located near the sites of future oil and gas activities, one was located near the Anthem Ranch neighborhood, and the fourth was located near Broomfield County Commons Fields. These samples will be used to establish baseline concentrations of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene, ahead of future oil and gas extraction activities. Installation of the City and County of Broomfield air quality monitoring stations at 19 locations (indicated on map above) will provide important air quality metrics for the city and these stations will be installed on existing poles or tall fence posts installed by Ajax Analytics. The monitoring stations will have minimal impact on the landscape and vegetation. For sites without existing street light poles, Ajax Analytics installed 12’ fence posts.  The monitoring stations were deployed in early December and January. It is anticipated that testing results will start to be available on Broomfield/s website in early 2019.   


Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program - Update December 21, 2018

Ajax/CSU

  • Summa canister sampling continues.  The data is anticipated to be summarized and reported in the 1st quarterly report in April 2019.
  • All 19 air monitoring stations have been installed and are operational.  (See the updated map above.) There have been over 250,000 data points taken already as part of the monitoring station validation process.
  • The public portal is expected to be released in early 2019.

National Center Atmospheric Research

  • NCAR has completed the proof of concept for use of the drone to measure air quality measurements vertically.  
  • Once the data has been published as part of a paper being submitted by Lizzie Asher from NCAR, it will be available to Broomfield.
  • NCAR data going forward will be summarized and included in the quarterly reports.
Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Lab (CDPHE)
  • The baseline data obtained by CAMML from October 29 to November 16 is currently being validated through the quality assurance process that CDPHE uses.
  • Broomfield will be notified when the report is available.
  • Data collected in Broomfield will be linked in the quarterly reports.

Air Quality Monitoring and Testing Program Open House


Ajax, CSU and staff conducted an Air Quality Monitoring Study Open House on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at the City and County Building in Broomfield.  The Open House was published two times in the Broomfield Enterprise, was posted on Broomfield’s oil and gas webpage, B in the Loop, and email. 

Attendees learned more about how Broomfield’s air quality monitoring and testing program will be conducted, what tools and sensors will be used, and how results will be made accessible to the public. Representatives from the partnership between Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science and Ajax Analytics attended the event and were available to discuss the monitoring network and data analysis platform for Broomfield. CSU’s Plume Tracker was  onsite and available for touring.  A video of the Air Quality Monitoring Open House is available online and can be viewed here.

Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory

Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has placed its mobile air monitoring laboratory (CAMML) in Broomfield at a location that is northwest of the Livingston Pad and south of the Northwest Parkway.  The CDPHE completed baseline testing at the selected location from October 29, 2018, through late November.  The CDPHE will return the CAMML to do follow-up testing during hydraulic fracturing and flowback phases.

Extraction Baseline Air Quality and Sound Studies


Extraction’s Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP) requires Extraction to provide updated baseline air quality and noise studies specific to the six well pads approved by the COGCC in Broomfield.  Extraction has submitted the contractor, process, and testing location for both of these studies to Broomfield for review.  Extraction’s proposal for these studies were reviewed by staff and consultants, with additional requirements requested by Broomfield, and the study proposals were administratively approved as required by the Operator Agreement and the CDP. This testing has now taken place and Broomfield is awaiting the results.  It is important that both of these studies are currently being conducted so that baseline testing can be completed before pad construction.  (View the baseline air monitoring information here and noise monitoring information here.)