Report Measures Pre-Fracking Baseline Water Quality in Athens and Belmont Counties
July 30, 2013
In Eastern and Southern Ohio, oil and gas leases are rapidly being signed for drilling in the Utica Shale. In order to quantify impacts of shale gas exploration, baseline environmental conditions must first be measured. With start-up funding from Ohio University and The Sugarbush Foundation, the Voinovich School recently partnered with OHIO's Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment Laboratory (ISEE), The Sugarbush Foundation, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a regional shallow aquifer groundwater study. This study measured baseline water quality parameters prior to the commencement of controversial high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling activities in and around Athens and Belmont Counties in Ohio.
Findings: The baseline establishment suggests that there is not widespread organic groundwater pollution in Athens and Belmont Counties, despite a long history of coal mining and oil and gas extraction. This information will assist rural landowners, elected officials and regulators to learn more about the complex issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, especially as it relates to local water resources. Read the final report here.