Penn State Looking for PA Landowners with Private Water Wells Near Marcellus Drilling for Research Study

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences wants owners of private drinking-water wells located near completed natural-gas wells in the Marcellus shale region to participate in a study of the impact of gas development. The study will assess the potential impacts of Marcellus gas drilling on rural drinking water wells, according to Bryan Swistock, extension water resources specialist. The data collected from the study is for research purposes and for the education of each homeowner.

"Private water wells near completed Marcellus gas-well sites will be selected for free post-drilling water testing of 14 water-quality parameters," Swistock said. He noted that to be eligible for this free, post-drilling water testing, participants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Own a private water well (no springs/cisterns can be included in the study).
  • Have an existing Marcellus gas well (drilled and hydrofractured) within about 5,000 feet (one mile) of the water well.
  • Had your water well tested by a state-accredited water laboratory before the Marcellus gas well was drilled and are willing to share a copy of those water-test results with Penn State researchers.

"Due to funding constraints, all eligible applicants cannot be promised inclusion in this study," Swistock said. "Selection will be based on eligibility, geographic location and other factors."

Participants selected for the study will benefit personally by receiving a free test of their home drinking water supply and information about the results of those tests, Swistock said. Residents with water wells that meet the research criteria above should visit the following website to indicate an interest in participating in this research study: