The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has installed a new air monitor in Flower Mound, TX, in southern Denton County to track the effects of Barnett Shale gas patch activity.

Data provided by the automatic gas chromatograph monitor will be available online in near-real time.

Testing for 46 different volatile organic compounds (VOC), including benzene, the monitor will also provide total non-methane VOC concentrations and meteorological data, which are important in analyzing air quality readings, according to TCEQ.

“The installation of this latest monitor shows that the Barnett Shale continues to be a priority to our agency,” said TCEQ Executive Director Mark Vickery. “And we aren’t done — we are also evaluating other locations in the region for additional monitors.”

The Flower Mound monitor is the sixth such device sited in the Barnett Shale area. Last summer state Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound — who praised the installation of the latest monitor — said the air quality monitoring program in the Barnett Shale would be expanded (see Daily GPI, Aug. 24). Online access for citizens to the data collected is a relatively recent addition to the program (see Daily GPI, Sept. 1).

Each monitor costs up to $250,000 for the equipment, installation and the first year of operation. Operating each monitor will cost up to $100,000 per year thereafter, according to TCEQ.