National Ground Water Association (NGWA)

Journal article evaluates methane sources in groundwater in Pennsylvania


WESTERVILLE, OH -- The findings of a new study in the journal Groundwater suggest that methane concentrations in Susquehanna County water wells in Pennsylvania can be explained without the migration of Marcellus shale gas due to hydraulic fracturing.

“Testing of 1,701 water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania shows that methane is ubiquitous in groundwater, with higher concentrations observed in valleys vs. upland areas and in association with calcium-sodium-bicarbonate, and sodium chloride rich waters,” the article states.

The article goes on to say that “on a regional scale, methane concentrations are best correlated to topographic and hydrogeologic features, rather than shale-gas extraction.”

The study authors are from the Houston, Texas-based GSI Environmental Inc. and Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The study’s assessment of isotopic and molecular analyses of hydrocarbon gases in Dimrock Township suggests that gases present in local water wells are most consistent with Middle and Upper Devonian gases sampled in the annular spaces of local gas wells, as opposed to Marcellus production gases.

Groundwater is published by the National Ground Water Association.

NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.

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