Environmental Science and Management (ESM)
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
John F. Stolz
Unconventional shale gas extraction has grown significantly over the past decade in Washington County, Pennsylvania; 1362 unconventional wells had been drilled by the end of 2015. This study analyzed ten years of industry data to generate an overview of development and assess the resultant environmental impacts. Analyses of industry data obtained from PADEP and DCNR indicate well longevity may be overestimated while land and water usage is underestimated. To evaluate possible water quality impacts, a survey was conducted, with 99 ground and surface water samples collected and analyzed. 82% of samples exceeded at least one EPA (S)MCL, with iron exceeded in 72 samples. 37% of survey respondents noticed changes in water quality or quantity; detection of methane and ethane in samples; changes in water quality from industry pre-drill results; and similarities in concentration ratios of freshwater and oil and gas wastewaters suggest water quality has been affected by USGD.
Nolan, C. (2016). A Decade (2005-2015) of Unconventional Shale Gas Development in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and its Environmental Impact (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://ddc.duq.edu/etd/64