Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM
BASELINE WATER QUALITY STUDIES: A METHOD TO MEASURE POTENTIAL CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL WATER QUALITY DUE TO MARCELLUS DRILLING ACTIVITIES
Baseline studies could be very useful in addressing scientific and public policy inquiries, as well as, concerns by stakeholders on the potential impact of Marcellus gas drilling on ground and surface fluvial water quality. According to the Australian Agency for International Development Guideline, baseline studies “should provide the minimum information required to assess the quality of the activity implementation and measure development results”. Baseline studies measure change. Changes in water quality due to a specific anthropogenic activity, in this case gas drilling, should be measured utilizing methodologies that employ specific well chosen chemical, physical and/or ecological (fauna and flora) indicators. These methods should collect data at the inception of activity and continue on a rolling basis. Methods should be designed to measure changes “with and without” activity and/or “before and after” activity. In the case of surface water quality, the proposed GIW (General Integrative Watershed) model could be useful as a baseline surface water quality study method to measure, utilizing specific indicators, the impact of land use attributes, such as Marcellus gas drilling, on surface fluvial water quality. The GIW method is 1) holistic in the sense that streams and rivers are viewed in watershed-wide contexts, 2) applicable to a variety of lithologic, topographic, biotic and climatic regimes, 3) mechanistic and discrete utilizing the landscape ecology concept of channel “patch systems” permitting cross-watershed comparisons, and 4) cost effective, simple and easy to implement.