CARROLLTON: There is no evidence of natural gas getting into drinking water wells in Carroll County due to drilling, according to new research.
Amy Townsend-Small, a assistant professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati, has been monitoring 25 drinking water wells for 12 months with some of the wells being tested quarterly.
The results, she said, indicate no water problems in Carroll County which is the No. 1 county in Ohio for Utica shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
"You have very good quality water," she said. "There’s no evidence of problems from drilling."
She outlined the preliminary results from her research last week at a meeting of the Carroll Concerned Citizens.
That is good news for residents and for drillers, said Paul Feezel, president of Carroll Concerned Citizens.
"We are fortunate that researchers…have chosen to study potential water quality risks in Carroll County," he said.
Added Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association: "Professor Townsend-Small did a great job of helping folks understand
their current water quality and confirmed the fact that shale
development in the area had not had any affect of their drinking
At least one sample showed high levels of methane but that methane came from natural sources, not drilling, Townsend-Small said.
Additional research is taking place at that site, she said.
She and her team tested acidity, conductivity, methane concentration and methane isotopes, she said.
Townsend-Small said she hopes to continue and enlarge her Carroll County water study.
Her $20,000 study was funded by the Deer Creek Foundation, the Weston Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Defense.
The heavy drilling activity in Carroll County is producing other academic research.
On Dec. 10. Feezel’s group will unveil an new air-monitoring study in Carroll County by researchers at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine and Oregon State University.
That study, to be begin early next year, is being funded by the federal National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. That is part of the federal National Institutes of Health.
Researchers intend to collect air samples over two to three weeks from perhaps 10 properties with well pads with drilled wells or locations that neighbor well pads.
There will be no cost to landowners and any properties with air problems will not be individually identified.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.