Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
PRE-GAS DEVELOPMENT, BASELINE WATER QUALITY MONITORING IN THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER HEADWATERS, OTSEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK: PART 1 GROUNDWATER
Groundwater, and specifically drinking water wells, in the Butternut Valley of Otsego County NY are susceptible to changes in water chemistry due to the proposed natural gas drilling of the Marcellus and Utica formations. This study focuses on obtaining a baseline of groundwater chemistry to determine if future natural gas drilling can have an effect on well water. Eight sample locations were tested during the summer, fall, and winter of 2010. Water samples were analyzed for major and trace elements on a campus-owned spectrophotometer and an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP-AES) spectrometer. In addition, we sent aliquots to a professional laboratory (an ICP-MS) to test our results from the university machine. We tested for temperature, pH, conductivity, and alkalinity on site. Concentrations for nitrate ranged from 0.200mg/L to 14.1mg/L; for sulfate 1.00mg/L to 58.0 mg/L; and for chloride 0.100mg/L to 32.3mg/L. The most commonly occurring cations included calcium, silicon, sodium, magnesium, potassium, and copper. The element concentrations at each residential location were put into a mapping program to determine the existence of spatial patterns, which might result from bedrock geology or perhaps fluid flow along fractures. Element concentrations in this study fall within acceptable ranges based on the US Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards.