The use of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has grown substantially in the past decade, and with it the number of heavy duty diesel trucks (HDDTs) used to transport HVHF materials and wastes. This research is a pilot study for the third phase of a three-phase project to determine the potential negative health effects caused by these HDDTs. This pilot study developed the methodology of modeling health effects, subsequent costs, and their spatial distribution with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program – Community Edition (BenMAP-CE), using data from previous phases of the project and focusing on the effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions in and around Pittsburgh, PA. Health endpoints modeled include adult mortality, infant mortality, respiratory hospital admissions, and cardiovascular hospital admissions. Other emissions datasets modeled for comparison are: the Pennsylvania HDDT fleet of 2008, the Pennsylvania HDDT fleet upgraded to model year 2007 emissions regulations, and ambient PM2.5 pollution. PM2.5 emissions from HVHF HDDTs have a low impact compared to the other emissions datasets and caused less than 1 incidence for each health endpoint per 1 million people in the respective age groups. These findings are likely suppressed due to data estimation and averaging in this and previous phases. However, the HVHF HDDTs impact different communities than typical HDDT traffic due to different routes and the more rural nature of HVHF activity. This model also showed that emissions regulations can have a large positive impact on reducing health impacts. This thesis successfully developed methodology involving BenMAP-CE as a modeling tool, which can be used in future studies to help quantify the health impacts of emissions from HVHF-related activity.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


Karl F. Korfmacher

Advisor/Committee Member

Scott Hawker

Advisor/Committee Member

James Winebrake


RIT – Main Campus