Environmental Science and Management (ESM)
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Health and environmental sciences, Earth sciences, Conductivity, Groundwater, Light hydrocarbons, MCL, Well water, Unconventional gas wells, Shale gas
The increase in unconventional shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania has resulted in an increased number of groundwater contamination claims. Well water quality was investigated in southern Butler County, PA where 387 unconventional gas wells have been drilled since 2006. A total of 121 households participated in a survey and 238 well water samples were tested. Specific conductivity, pH, and dissolved oxygen in these samples were measured in the field and seven anion concentrations and thirty metal concentrations were measured in the lab. A subset of 91 water wells was also tested for light hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, ethylene, propylene, propane, butane). Pennsylvania DEP file reviews were used to create GIS maps indicating legacy oil and gas, unconventional wells, and plot water testing results. Results indicate few wells had high quality groundwater, with 86% containing one or more contaminants above (secondary) Maximum Contaminant Levels, with manganese (56%), iron (47%), fluoride (18%), TDS (18%), pH (17%), aluminum (17%) the most common.
Mayes, S. (2015). Well Water Quality in Southern Butler County, Pennsylvania (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/895