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Environmental injustice, Community Science , Citizen science, Hydrogen Sulfide Oil & Gas

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Lourdes Vera a,*,1 , Garance Malivel b,2 , Drew Michanowicz c,3 , Choong-Min Kang c,4 , Sara Wylie a,5


Scientific instrumentation driven by academic, military, and industrial applications tends to be high cost, designed for expert use, and “black boxed”. Community-led citizen science (CLCS) is creating different research instruments with different measurement goals and processes. This paper identifies four design attributes for CLCS tools: affordability, accessibility, builds community efficacy and provides actionable data through validating a community method for monitoring the neurotoxic and corrosive gas Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). For $1 per sample, the semi-quantitative method provides an affordable and easily interpretable data for communities to compare H2S concentrations and silver corrosion in their home environments to those in a major municipal sewage treatment plant. H2S is a leading cause of workplace injury in the U.S. and commonly found in oil and gas production, sewage treatment plants, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Communities neighboring such sources tend to be socio-economically marginalized with little access to scientific or political resources. Consequently, health risks and material degradation from corrosion are well studied in workplaces while community exposures are under-studied. Existing commercial H2S detection methods are prohibitively expensive for low-income communities and often require the support of professional scientists. This paper describes a simple and inexpensive semi-quantitative H2S measurement method that uses photopaper. Photopaper passively measures H2S as its silver halide layer linearly reacts with H2S between concentrations of 30 ppb to 1000 ppb, discoloring the paper from white to brown. We develop a colorimetric scale for this discoloration for visual estimation of H2S concentration and overall corrosion. The scale is based on comparing silver sulfide (Ag2S) measured by Purafil Corrosion Classification Coupons (CCCs) and H2S concentrations measured with the industry standard tool, a Jerome meter, to silver and sulfur bound to the photopaper as measured with X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). We conduct our validation studies in a major municipal sewage treatment plant to provide real-world occupational benchmarks for comparison to community results. This community science method is affordable, accessible, designed to build collective efficacy and to create actionable data to flag the need for follow-up research


Lourdes Vera a,*,1 , Garance Malivel b,2 , Drew Michanowicz c,3 , Choong-Min Kang c,4 , Sara Wylie a,5

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