A new study by Penn State researchers finds that Marcellus drilling and production activities are having little impact on rural water supplies. The study, The Impact of Marcellus Gas Drilling on Rural Drinking Water Supplies, was recently released by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The center’s research findings note that “statistical analyses of post-drilling versus pre-drilling water chemistry did not suggest major influenc¬es from gas well drilling or hydrofracturing (fracking) on nearby water wells, when considering changes in potential pollutants that are most prominent in drilling waste fluids.”
The research looked “to provide an unbiased and large-scale study of water quality in private water wells in rural Pennsylvania before and after the drilling of nearby Marcellus Shale gas wells.” The study also looked to document both the enforcement of existing regulations and the use of voluntary measures by homeowners to protect water supplies.
As part of the study, the researchers evaluated water sampled from 233 water wells in proximity to Marcellus gas wells in rural regions of Pennsylvania in 2010 and 2011. Among these were treatment sites (water wells sampled before and after gas well drilling nearby) and control sites (water wells sampled though no well drilling occurred nearby).
Click to read the study's report.