A multi-year study conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, and partly funded by organizations opposed to natural gas development, found no groundwater contamination from Utica shale development in Ohio. Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, said, “The study was based on the hypothesis that natural gas methane concentration would increase as the number of shale gas wells in the study area increased. However, the results were just the opposite. We can add this report to the pile of twenty or more similar studies showing no threat to groundwater from shale gas operations.” The study, entitled “Monitoring concentration and isotopic composition of methane in groundwater in the Utica Shale hydraulic fracturing region of Ohio”, involved collecting data from 25 water wells in Carroll, Harrison, Stark, Belmont and Columbiana counties in Ohio – areas with a high propensity of natural gas development – between 2012 and 2015. According to the report:
“We found no relationship between CH4 (natural gas methane) concentration or source in groundwater and proximity to active gas well sites. No significant changes in CH4 concentration, CH4 isotopic composition, pH, or conductivity in water wells were observed during the study period.”
While these findings were initially released over two years ago, the study is being published in the upcoming June 2018 edition of the peer-reviewed international journal, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. According to the journal’s website, the publication is devoted to progress in the use of monitoring data in assessing environmental risks to man and the environment.
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