Environmental Science and Management (ESM)
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
John F. Stolz
Daniel J. Bain
unconventional drilling, water quality, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania department of environmental protection, oil and gas complaints, natural gas production
The dramatic rise in unconventional oil and gas extraction in Pennsylvania has presented a challenge to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in managing regulatory required data, and the uniformity of public access via their online databases. This study analyzed over a decade of all the oil and gas complaints and unconventional gas production in Washington County. Of the 1,811 wells drilled between 2004 and 2018, 1,683 are producing, 74 are plugged, 52 regulatory inactive, and 2 abandoned. The PADEP received 10,389 complaints from 2004 to 2018. Only 2,420 of 4,489 water quality complaints were resolved within the legally required 45 days. Lastly, a survey was conducted in Sewickley, PA to evaluate baseline water quality before drilling begins. Forty four water samples were collected from 21 sources at 3 different times between 2018-2019. All exceeded at least one EPA secondary maximum contaminant level with Mn, Fe, Cl, and total dissolved solids the common contaminants.
Pratt, D. (2019). Unconventional Gas Extraction in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Complaints, Production, and Water Quality (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1796