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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gas Task Force--Be Vigilant About Water

Water, Water Everywhere — So Let’s Protect It

judyandwaterWater issues were on the agenda of Tuesday night’s Potter County Natural Gas Task Force. Three members of the organization’s Water Quality Study Committee addressed the group, emphasizing the need for citizens — especially those who own wells and springs — to be vigilant as well-drilling increases.

_waterdogsJohn McLaughlin announced that another round of training for volunteer water monitors in the Pine Creek Watershed will be held from 7-9 pm on Tuesday, March 23, at the North Campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology near Wellsboro. Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group is holding the session. More information is available at 570-724-1801, extension 118.

McLaughlin also said the committee is working on developing information for property owners to assist them in testing their wells or springs. He emphasized the importance of obtaining water assessments prior to natural gas drilling, so that a baseline is established for later comparison. Different levels of testing are available and not all results may be admissible in court in the event of a liability claim, he cautioned.

Committee member Judy Bear explained the complexities of attributing changes in drinking water to specific causes. She emphasized the importance of having private water supplies tested, not only to establish baselines, but to detect bacteria that could cause health problems.

While acknowledging risks to the environment, Bear urged public officials to take steps to welcome gas companies to Potter County. “It’s going to happen, whether we want it or not – it’s coming,” she said. “We are close to the East Coast markets and there is a demand for natural gas, both economically and because of our country’s energy security. I think we should have signs that say, ‘Welcome, natural gas industry,’ at the county’s borders and try to make the best of this situation.”

jimclarkAnother committee member, Jim Clark of Penn State Cooperative Extension, encouraged the public to visit the Cooperative Extension website for information on water testing, landowners’ rights and the laws affecting drilling companies. Clark also said his agency is seeking private landowners who live in close proximity to natural gas drilling to participate in a study of the industry’s possible impact on water supplies. He can be contacted by email at jac20@psu.edu.

(Above, Judy Bear of Coudersport, a certified well driller, demonstrates how water percolates and migrates in the ground.)


Anonymous said...

Great comments there, Judi.
Potter County's leaders deserve a lot of credit for getting out ahead of this industry with the Expo and the Task Force and all of the information. Thanks to Solomons Words for keeping us informed and also the Endeavor and Gerri Miller Black Forest News. My husband's son is in Louisiana working for a gas field company and is staying in touch with things. He think he will be able to move back home soon because of this. Again thanks to all for keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

I am plesantly suprised by your statements,and your grasp of the situation.The more people learn, the better their understanding of the industry, and the need this country has for it's own energy source. Not to mention what it will do for this depressed area!
Tip of the hat to you!