Fugitive Emissions: What They Are & Why They Matter

What Are Fugitive Emissions?

Fugitive emissions refer to accidental leakages of gases and vapors into the atmosphere.  These are typically known as a byproduct of the oil and gas industry.  In the past several decades, the rise of climate awareness and protection resulted in a spotlight on fugitive emissions.  


Not limited to well-known oil and gas byproducts like ethylene oxide and methane, fugitive emissions also refer to dust, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and even aerosolized medicine.  Furthermore, many appliances manufactured in the twentieth century utilized CFCs as refrigerants.  Banned for production in the 1990’s, CFCs are now only utilized in older machines and specific fire suppression systems.  


In agriculture and the construction field, dust is another monitored fugitive emission.  For agriculture,  reduction in tilling or combining operations is common.  Additionally, in construction, crews are required to keep the areas watered.  This discourages dust from kicking up and causing vision problems on roadways.  

Why Do Fugitive Emissions Matter?

Emissions like methane and ethylene oxide are the subject of much debate in the discourse regarding climate change.  A recent post from UC Santa Barbara reports that methane is  “more than 25 times as potent as CO2 at trapping heat, and is estimated to trap 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 over 20 years”.  


Currently, the EPA monitors activity related to fugitive emission release.  With the current presidential administration working to bolster fugitive emission reporting and regulation in response to the previous administration’s rollbacks of the Clean Air act, it is likely that fugitive emissions will necessitate detail-oriented care and monitoring in the future.  

We Can Help!

Here at NTG Environmental, we specialized in systematic, detail-oriented operations to ensure your sites are operating within regulatory compliance.  Our fugitive emission surveys include equipment audits, permit compliance, NSPS 40 CFR 60 Subpart OOOOa compliance, LDAR, and loss prevention surveys.  Contact our team of experts today and let’s work together to continue to steward natural resources well.