Citizen Water Quality Database for Northeastern Pennsylvania


The Wilkes University Center for Environmental Quality, through its Homeowner Outreach Program, has been conducting water quality analysis and education for the past 20 years. Even though our groundwater resources are one of our most important assets, there is limited data on the quality and quantity of regional groundwater. Wilkes University is establishing a regional water quality database and we are requesting your participation by allowing us to add the data from your certified water quality baseline analysis to our database.

The database will provide information about the current state of groundwater and surface water quality and serve as a basis for monitoring changes in groundwater and surfacewater quality and document the types of local and regional water quality challenges that are not related to Marcellus gas drilling activity. The database initiative is the first of its kind in northeast Pennsylvania and the initial database will target private wells in Luzerne and Columbia Counties, but we are reaching out to build partnerships throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania so the database can include other counties in the area, i.e., Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Sullivan, Wayne, Wyoming (Resource: Initial Press Release dated –August 17, 2010).

The purpose of our database is twofold. We will use it to help us better understand the current and future groundwater and surface water quality for the region. The database will also be used to generate educational materials relating to regional water quality. The database is for research and education purposes, and will not be sold or used for any commercial purpose. The database is managed by Center for Environmental Quality and the Environmental Engineering ...

To protect your privacy, the research database file will only include the testing results, zip code, general information on well or water source, and the latitude and longitude of the sampling site. Your name, address, or other contact information will not be included within the database.

If you have not conducted baseline analysis and have questions about the testing process and parameters please go to our website and Submit Your Questions or Request for Assistance.

To learn more - go to http://www.wilkes.edu/water

Note: Wilkes University does not provide baseline water testing services, we do provide informational water testing and we our updating our packages to provide affordable screening tools for citizens.

 

Other informational water testing services at

http://www.water-research.net

 

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Tags: baseline, data, groundwater, marcellus, owner, private, quality, shale, testing, water, More…well

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Comment by Brian Oram, PG on December 5, 2010 at 7:41pm
For all citizens that submit certified data to the database, you will receive an evaluation of the data by Mr. Brian Oram. Please support the citizen database.

http://www.wilkes.edu/water
Comment by Brian Oram, PG on November 25, 2010 at 1:46pm
Update on the database- Why are database is different - For our database we are taking all data that is available that was collected using third party chain of custody and a certified testing laboratory. This would include data collected by the citizen or copies of the testing results that were released to the homeowner by the natural gas company. The process is going well and all the forms are online. In addition, we have added some recommendations on an alternative 3-Tier approach for NEPA.

Recent findings-
Existing Wells mostly have a problem with total coliform bacteria and less than 8% have problems with arsenic, lead, etc and less than 1% seem to have problems with connate water or salt water, VOCs, and SOCS.

A recent presentation can be found at
http://www.water-research.net/powerpoint/index.htm

Database Forms - Please help support the Citizen Database - we can use all the data that is available.
http://wilkes.edu/pages/4197.asp

Thanks

Brian

PS: I am happy to end a community meeting to discuss this database and other community related issues.
Comment by Brian Oram, PG on November 8, 2010 at 5:03pm
At Wilkes University, we have three basic programs related to water:

1. The Citizen Database - this is where a citizen can submit testing that was conducted by a third party contractor and tested by a certified laboratory - prior to or following drilling within 1000 foot of the well. You can go to http://www.wilkes.edu/water - Look for Database and Consent Document.
THis is the data from baseline testing - We do Not conduct the testing - but we have provided some recommendations related to parameters for private wellowners looking to conduct analysis.
http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/4197.asp

2. THe Homeowner Outreach Program - this is an educational program I have had since 1989 - we will conduct informational water testing for citizens. I am revising testing packages to target Marcellus Shale and other environmental issues - This does not replace baseline testing.

http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/3672.asp


3. Surfacewater and Lake Monitoring - this is testing that supports the efforts of watershed groups, water dogs, and lake/pond management - we are developing a customized package to look at and finger print road salt, brine water, and other items. THis is part of the C-SAW program and our Watershed Monitoring and Training Efforts

http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/3677.asp

I hope this helps and is not confusing - Also do conduct workshops and speak
http://www.wilkes.edu/pages/4200.asp
Comment by Brian Oram, PG on November 8, 2010 at 4:44pm
We are only including third party testing in the database, not samples that are collected by the homeowner or an individual. I already have a separate program that I had running long before PSU started. You can get all the forms at
http://www.wilkes.edu/water
Comment by Robin Fehrenbach Scala on November 8, 2010 at 1:38pm
I'm glad to see that Wilkes is collecting data on private water supplies. It is information that will make the whole issue of "toxic frac" a moot point.

I am also aware of a similar database starting this month, through Penn State Extension of Tioga County, however there are two problems that I see with their methods.

While they are collecting lab results on private water wells BEFORE drilling starts in an area, they are making the mistake of allowing water samples to be delivered to analysis AFTER drilling BY THE HOMEOWNER. This makes all samples suspect and not worth analyzing because too many anti-drill folks will take this opportunity to add a little of this and that to their sample in order to skew the results.
Additionally, I feel that the water testing should NOT be limited to only those people with drilling activity. Clearly there has to be a control group to show what private water is like regardless.
Any thoughts on this?

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