Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Shale gas development in Central Appalachia will likely increase economic activity and help meet future energy needs; however, there are concerns over potential impacts to water resources. This research assessed impacts of drilling for gas in the Marcellus shale in the White Day Creek watershed in northern West Virginia. A total of eight stream sites, located both upstream and downstream of three permitted gas wells, were monitored. Two of the permitted wells were in the development phase while the third was actively being drilled. Water samples were collected during the bi-weekly sampling and analyzed at the National Research Center of Coal and Energy Analysis Laboratory. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities were monitored and rated using the West Virginia Stream Condition Index (WVSCI). Physical characteristics within the watershed were measured through pebble counts and cross sectional surveys. Continuous monitors were installed at the four sites surrounding the active drill site measuring conductivity, temperature, and stage.;Results indicated that none of the mean values for each testing parameter exceeded their respective EPA standard limit. Turbidity increased throughout the summer due to higher dissolved/suspended solids and lower water levels. Conductivity also increased during the summer as a result of temperature, ion concentration, and water level. Ion concentrations contributing to TDS of water samples remained constant during the monitoring period. The overall WVSCI score ranged from 47 to 80. Medium grain size ranged from < 2 to 67 mm. From the results, it could not be determined if development in the Marcellus shale impaired surface water quality. Results indicated that surface water quality at each monitoring site was not impaired and that testing parameters remained at below EPA standard limits.
Streets, D. Aaron, "Assessing the surface water quality impacts of Marcellus shale development in Whiteday Creek watershed, West Virginia" (2012). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 401.