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To help better understand the impacts of drilling activities on water quality adjacent to Beaver Run Reservoir, we are now including results from laboratory tests on levels of various organic compounds in water samples. These analyses are performed by Environmental Service Laboratories (ESL) in Indiana, PA. Water samples are gathered by IUP Project field personnel or MAWC personnel at select sites per ESL's sampling protocols, then returned to ESL for organic analysis. Tests include: volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes).

For a complete list of organic compounds analyzed by ESL, see Organic Analytes. For a description of the organic analysis methods, see Analysis of Organics.

Background Organic Compound Sampling at Beaver Run

One of the concerns related to gas extraction activities in the Marcellus and Utica shale strata is the possibility of organic compounds entering waterways adjacent to drilling pads during the drilling and hydrofracturing (fracking) steps of creating a new well. In anticipation of further wells being developed at Beaver Run in 2017 and beyond, MAWC[1] and IUP discussed a preliminary organic sampling project at limited sites in the watershed area to assess the existence of, and possible quantitation of, organic compounds related to fracking. As no recent well development had occurred for more than a year, this testing would serve as a good 'background' or base level reading of possible organic contaminants.

In November 2016 and February 2017, Dr. Okey and student members of the project traveled to select sites[2] of the Project and gathered water samples following ESL's protocols. The samples were returned to ESL for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs).

All sites tested for all VOCs and SVOCs fell below the reporting limits of the analyses (see Organic Analytes for reporting limits) with one exception: Site 16A from 2/23/17 had a reportable level of acetone (16.2 parts-per-billion). As acetone is a common organic solvent used for many commercial products (e.g., paints, thinners, etc.) and there were no other reportable levels of organic compounds at other sites, there was no reason to suspect that this small level of acetone was related to a specific event at Beaver Run Reservoir.

2017 Organic Compound Monitoring

In late summer and early fall of 2017, CONSOL Energy began installing more Utica shale gas wells at the Aikens Pad at Beaver Run. Now that background organic compound levels had been tested, MAWC wanted to monitor the adjacent area for organic compounds as drilling and fracking progressed. Water samples were gathered over several weeks near the drilling activity and sent to ESL for testing VOCs and SVOCs. CONSOL also provided samples to ESL for BTEX analyses. Below are the results from those tests. SUMMARY: No detectable levels of VOCs, SVOCs, or BTEX compounds were found during the drilling and fracking of Utica wells during the 2017 sampling period.

Sampling Period Sample ID[3] VOCs SVOCs BTEX Comments
8/14/17-8/20/17 C-BRR-01 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 1 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
8/28/17-9/3/17 MAWC-BRR-01 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 1 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
9/4/17-9/10/17 MAWC-BRR-02 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-02 (dup) none detected duplicate sample of above tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 2 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-03 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
9/11/17-9/17/17 MAWC-BRR-04 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-05 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-06 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 3 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
9/18/17-9/24/17 MAWC-BRR-07 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-08 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-09 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 4 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
9/25/17-10/01/17 MAWC-BRR-10 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-11 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-12 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 5 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-02 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 2 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
10/02/17-10/08/17 MAWC-BRR-13 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-14 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-15 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 6 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-03 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 3 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
10/09/17-10/15/17 MAWC-BRR-16 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-17 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-18 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 7 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-04 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 4 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
10/16/17-10/22/17 MAWC-BRR-19 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-20 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-21 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 8 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 9 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-05 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 5 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
10/23/17-10/29/17 MAWC-BRR-22 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-23 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-24 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 10 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 11 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-06 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 6 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
10/30/17-11/05/17 MAWC-BRR-25 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-26 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-27 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 12 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 13 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-07 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 7 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
11/06/17-11/12/17 MAWC-BRR-28 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-29 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-30 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 14 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 15 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
C-BRR-08 none detected CONSOL sample tested for BTEX
C-BRR-trip blank 8 none detected CONSOL trip blank tested for BTEX
11/13/17-11/19/17 MAWC-BRR-31 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-32 none detected MAWC sample tested for VOCs
MAWC-BRR-33 none detected MAWC sample tested for SVOCs
MAWC-trip blank 16 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs
MAWC-trip blank 17 none detected MAWC trip blank tested for VOCs

Notes

  1. ^ Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.
  2. ^ The following sites were sampled on Nov 18, 2016 and Feb 23, 2017: 03A, 03C, 08A, 10A, 13A, 14A, 16, 16A, 18A, 19, 23, and 25.
  3. ^ Sample IDs are not related to any current Beaver Run Project sites, but rather designators for CONSOL or MAWC for sites near the Aikens Pad.



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