Westmoreland County, PA Municipal Authority Initiates New Water Testing for Reservoir Located Near Marcellus Drilling

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, PA will start a new water testing and monitoring program for the Beaver Run Reservoir which supplies water to about 150,000 residents. CONSOL Energy has 100 shallow gas wells on municipal property near the Reservoir, and is starting to drill Marcellus Shale wells. The new water testing program is precautionary to ensure water is not being affected by nearby drilling activity.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania students will begin collecting samples today from the Beaver Run Reservoir to determine whether Marcellus shale deep-well drilling has affected the drinking water supply.

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County will pay IUP $55,000 this year to provide testing and analysis of the water to address concerns from customers that chemicals from existing gas wells around the 5,000-acre property could have infiltrated the water supply.

"This is entirely voluntary. It was always our intent to be open and transparent about the activities around the reservoir," authority Manager Chris Kerr said.

The authority, which [already] conducts a water-testing program, has found no indication of contamination at the reservoir, Kerr said.*

*Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Jun 1, 2011) – IUP students to test Beaver Run Reservoir for drilling problems