Webinar to focus on Penn State study of water wells near Marcellus drilling sites

Date: October 29, 2011
Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension Water Resources will discuss the research just completed on water well quality near Marcellus gas drilling sites.

The upcoming Penn State Extension online seminar dedicated to emerging water resources issues across the state will  focus on results from a recent study of water well quality near Marcellus gas drilling sites

The live webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1. A recorded version will be available for those who cannot log in for the live offering.

“There are about 1 million private water wells across Pennsylvania, and the possible effect of Marcellus drilling on water quality in these rural drinking water supplies has been a concern of some homeowners,” said study leader Bryan Swistock, senior extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The study was conducted from February 2010 to July 2011 by a team of researchers and county-based extension educators in the college. The research was funded by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, which is an agency of the state Legislature, and the Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center at Penn State.

“This is the first project to provide an unbiased and large-scale study of water quality in private water wells used to supply drinking water to rural homes and farms both before and after the drilling of Marcellus gas wells nearby,” said Swistock.

The study included an intensive phase focusing on 48 water wells within about 2,500 feet of a Marcellus well site and a broader phase that included 185 water wells within about a mile of a Marcellus well. Water wells were tested for potential pollutants associated with hydraulic fracturing or site disturbance, and a subset included testing for dissolved methane.

The study also identified future research directions and critical education needs for owners of private water wells. “Future research should look at a broader number of water contaminants over a longer period of time,” Swistock said. “More detailed and longer-term studies are critical to ensuring that Pennsylvanians’ private water supplies are protected.”

Participants must pre-register for the webinars, but only one registration is required for the entire series. To register, visit http://extension.psu.edu/water/webinar-series/schedule online. Once participants have pre-registered, they may visit a separate link on this website to attend the live webinar on the day of the presentation.

Penn State Extension Water Webinars are held routinely from November through May and all run from noon to 1 p.m. After the Nov. 1 webinar, the next in the series will be Nov. 21, when James Clark, extension educator based in McKean County, will present “The Triple Divide Watershed Coalition — Public Water Supplies Teaming to Protect Water Resources.”


For more information, contact Bryan Swistock at (814) 863-0194, or by e-mail at brs@psu.edu.


Posted at PSU.edu


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