Defense Date

3-15-2019

Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

thesis

Degree Name

MS

Department

Environmental Science and Management (ESM)

School

Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Committee Chair

John F. Stolz

Committee Member

David M. Kahler

Committee Member

Brady Porter

Keywords

unconventional drilling, Marcellus Shale, natural gas, public lands, Allegheny County, hydraulic fracturing, water quality, acid mine drainage, coal

Abstract

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, signed a lease to allow unconventional natural gas extraction from Marcellus Shale beneath Deer Lakes County Park in 2014. The park has three man-made lakes and four waterways that eventually flow into the Allegheny River. Drilling commenced in early 2016, and there are now five producing wells. The park has an extensive abandoned coal mine network and several abandoned oil and gas wells. Thus, an independent water quality study was undertaken beginning in July 2015. Samples from seven different sites in the park were used to establish a water quality baseline prior to the drilling. Monthly sampling continued through August 2017, with analytical parameters including conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, anions, light hydrocarbons, and a suite of metals and metalloids. Detection of light hydrocarbons, surfactants, and other constituents in specific mass ratios suggest that water quality has been impacted by a combination of past and present extractive activities.

Language

English

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