Rural water well owners needed for research on Marcellus gas drilling

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WASHINGTON, Ohio — Penn State’s School of Forest Resources, along with several Penn State Cooperative Extension county offices, have received funding from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center to conduct a research study on the potential impacts of Marcellus gas drilling on rural drinking water wells.

The data collected from the study is for research purposes, Penn State officials said. About 200 private water wells near completed Marcellus gas well sites will be selected for free post-drilling water testing of several water quality parameters.

Meeting

Interested water well owners would need to attend a local workshop to receive water testing materials and instructions.

The local workshop will be offered at the Courthouse Square Building at 100 W. Beau St. in Washington, Pa. Nov. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

At the workshop, each water well owner will be asked to complete a short survey about their experiences with nearby gas well drilling. Water samples and completed surveys will need to be returned to the same location the following morning, Nov. 9, between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. so they can be returned to the Penn State water testing laboratory.

The water samples collected in this study will not be legal chain-of-custody samples that are required to legally document impacts from gas drilling. Instead, the results will only be used for research purposes and for the education of the homeowner.

Requirements

To be eligible for the study and the free water quality testing associated with it, participants must meet all of the following criteria: Own a private water well (no springs/cisterns can be included in the study); have an existing Marcellus gas well (drilled and hydrofractured) within about 5,000 feet (one mile) of the water well; the gas well must be a Marcellus well and not a more traditional, shallow gas well; provide copies of water test results from a state-accredited water lab showing, at a minimum, pre-drilling concentrations of total dissolved solids, chloride and barium in the water well; and be willing to collect a sample from the water well on the morning after the workshop and return it Nov. 9 between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Due to funding constraints, all eligible applicants cannot be promised inclusion in this study. Selection will be based on eligibility, geographic location and other factors.

Participants selected for the study will personally benefit by receiving a free test of their home drinking water supply and information about the results of those tests.

Registration

Interested residents with water wells that meet the research criteria should contact Dana Rizzo (def18@psu.edu or 724-837-1402) or visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/marcellus to register.

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