Nighttime overlook of oil and gas fields from Carlsbad Cavern National Park (CAVE).

Title: Demonstration of Advanced VOC Monitoring Systems in New Mexico

Sponsor: Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service

Period: 2021 - 2022

Despite significant air quality improvements made across the US over the past few decades, the Carlsbad, NM area has recently been struggling with poor air quality and associated negative health effects on impacted communities. Specifically, this area in southeastern NM is currently battling elevated ozone (O3) levels. Preliminary 2017-2019 O3 design values for New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) run Carlsbad and Hobbs air monitoring sites have increased for the past few years as compared to historic design values and exceed the 70 ppb 2015 NAAQS O3 standard. Therefore, the EPA, state, and local regulators have critical research need to gain a better understanding of O3 precursor levels and their emissions sources in this region including industrial emissions sources of O3 precursor VOCs and NOx that are contributing to this regional air quality issue. While NOx levels (Figure 2B) measured at the Carlsbad Air Monitoring Site have been increasing over the past five years, there is little information on O3 precursor VOCs due to a lack of speciated VOC measurements in this region.

In this study, our group will collaborate with the EPA and the NPS to conduct a summer intensive field campaign in Carlsbad, NM with a mobile laboratory equipped with real-time, continuous speciated online VOC measurements using multiple novel measurement techniques alongside remotely operated canister samplers developed by the EPA.