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, an 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,” Townsend-Small said. “There’s no evidence of problems from drilling.”
She outlined the preliminary results from her research at a meeting last week of the Carroll Concerned Citizens, whose president, Paul Feezel, called it “good news” for residents and for drillers.
“We are fortunate that researchers ... have chosen to study potential water-quality risks in Carroll County,” he said.
Mike Chadsey, of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said, “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 effect of their drinking water.”
At least one sample showed high levels of methane, but that methane came from natural sources and not from drilling, Townsend-Small said.
Additional research is taking place at that site, she said.
Townsend-Small and her team tested acidity, conductivity, methane concentration and methane isotopes, she said.
She said she hopes to continue and enlarge her Carroll County water study. It cost $20,000 and was funded by the Deer Creek Foundation, the Weston Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Defense.
Heavy drilling activity in Carroll County is producing other academic research.
On Dec. 10. Feezel’s group will unveil a new air-monitoring study for Carroll County led by researchers at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine and Oregon State University.
That study, to 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 near well pads.
There will be no cost to landowners, and any properties with air problems will not be individually identified.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.