Many stakeholders are concerned about the risk of groundwater impacts as a result of shale gas development. To some degree, all types of wells (water, oil, gas, and even geothermal) present some risk to groundwater. Sometimes, groundwater quality impacts are temporary and/or easily treated. Other times, impacts are persistent and difficult to remedy. Despite state regulations in NY and elsewhere, it is difficult if not impossible to eliminate risk entirely, and chances of accidents remain. Information on groundwater risk is important, especially for owners of private drinking water wells.
WRI has funded research to establish baseline well water quality in central New York in order to better understand potential impacts of current and future gas drilling activities. Researchers have sampled hundreds of drinking water wells at homes across Tompkins, Chenango and Broome Counties. These samples have been analyzed for dissolved methane gas, as well total suspended sediment, trace metals and other solutes. Read more about this project.