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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The University of Iowa’s (U of I) School of Occupational and Environmental Health held a public forum titled, “Assessment Of Health Risks From Community Exposure To Silica Sand During Sand Mining.” According to Tom Peters, a professor in U of I’s department of occupational and environmental health, his group obtained funding from the National Institute of Health for study of air quality near six frac-sand mines in Wisconsin. Over the past 18 months, in addition to setting up stationary air monitors, his group worked with the Trempealeau County Health Department to find homeowners who were willing to participate in the study. They sampled air near a total of 17 homes that were located within 2.5 miles of frac sand mines. Peters said his group’s exposure measurements show that a person’s risk is related to their exposure and the actual toxicity of the silica particles. He said while there have been many studies done on the toxicology of silica sand, there has not been a study on the type of sand specific to mining.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Comprehensive data compiled by a respected air-monitoring scientist demonstrates that people living near frac sand facilities are safe from exposure to hazardous levels of crystalline silica. A study conducted by Dr. John Richards of Air Control Techniques used 657 daily average PM4 crystalline silica measurements, almost two years’ worth of data, and it found the long-term average concentrations measured at seven sampling locations were only 5–20 percent of the levels considered hazardous by California and Minnesota health officials. That means these facilities pose no threat to public health.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Rangeland Energy is moving up to eight railcars per day of frac sand for Halliburton at its Rio crude-by-rail terminal near Loving, N.M., keeping alive a system that would otherwise be idled amid narrow domestic crude differentials, according to a report on Reuters. The midstream operator is moving as many as eight railcars per day of frac sand at the Delaware Basin terminal. In early October, Rangeland delivered a record 150-car unit train at the Rio facility, Patrick McGannon, vice president of business development, said at the Argus Condensate and Naphtha conference in Houston, Texas.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Winona, Minn., city council decided against requiring air-quality monitoring at frac sand facilities in the city, according to the Winona Post. Instead of requiring monitoring equipment, city leaders decided to focus on creating new dust management rules – requirements that loading facilities be enclosed, for example – and on better enforcement of the rules the city already has. Citizen groups have been pushing the city council to require air-quality monitoring at the fence line of frac sand facilities in Winona since 2013.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Rangeland Energy announced that the largest frac sand unit train shipped to date in North America has arrived at the company’s RIO Hub located near Loving, N.M. The record 150-car unit train carried 16,500 tons (33 million lb.) of frac sand and was powered by five diesel locomotive engines. The unit train originated in Ottawa, Ill., and was operated by BNSF Railway Co. The unit train arrived on Oct. 2 and was unloaded within 22 hours. The sand was stored at the RIO Hub and will supply an operator with a large quantity of sand for high-volume hydraulic fracture jobs in the Delaware Basin. Demand for sand in the Delaware Basin remains high, and unit train service provides a more cost-effective and reliable means of shipping large volumes of sand than manifest service, according to the company.

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