Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Shikha Sharma

Committee Co-Chair

Timothy Carr

Committee Member

Timothy Carr

Committee Member

Aaron Maxwell


Pre-existing water chemistry data available from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection were used to examine temporal changes in surface water quality related to the onset of Marcellus Shale gas drilling activity in the state of West Virginia. Drilling is concentrated in the northwestern portion of the state. Watersheds were delineated for twelve discrete stream sampling locations in the Upper Ohio-Wheeling HUC-8 sub-basin, where shale gas drilling is prevalent. Kruskal-Wallis tests were deployed to compare pre- and post-drilling concentrations of conductivity, chloride, and total suspended solids for each location. Increased concentrations of these parameters are associated with surface water contaminated by shale gas drilling. Streams in this study show no significant temporal changes related to shale gas development. Correlation tests were used to identify possible relationships between water quality and different phases of the shale gas drilling process. Results of the analysis indicate that no relationship exists between these variables for the streams in this study. The nature of this analysis allows for identification of long-term water quality changes due to shale gas drilling but does not provide a mechanism for evaluating single point discharges or short-term contamination events. Studies of this type can also help identify potential sites where continuous monitoring sensors could be deployed in the future.

Included in

Geochemistry Commons