Paper No. 9-12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
INITIAL GEOCHEMICAL ASSESSMENT OF SHANERBURG RUN, WORLDS END STATE PARK, SULLIVAN COUNTY, PA
Worlds End State Park in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania offers 780 acres of recreational land in a pristine environment. Underlying the area is the Marcellus Shale formation, which has become an important source of natural gas in Pennsylvania. The increase of hydraulic fracturing in Sullivan County and other areas in the northern plateau region of Pennsylvania can have negative impacts on local water quality. Shanerburg Run, a Loyalsock Creek tributary with headwaters in Worlds End State Park, was sampled on September 30, 2018 to establish a baseline assessment of water chemistry for future comparison. Seven samples were collected along the length of the stream, including the outflow from the wetland at the headwaters and the confluence of the stream at Loyalsock Creek. In situ measurements using Hach multimeters include pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Bulk samples were stored in 4-liter jugs in ice for transport to the laboratory. Titrations to measure acidity and alkalinity were performed on triplicate filtered samples within nine hours of collection. Triplicate subsamples were collected and stored for later analysis: 1) for heavy metals (unfiltered for total and filtered for dissolved, both acidified to pH <2) and 2) simple anions and cations (filtered). Except for the wetland outflow, which had both low pH and alkalinity and acidity values about 7 times higher than those in the remaining samples, both conductivity (>40 μS/cm) as well as turbidity (>2 NTU) of the entire stream were low, indicating that the stream carried neither a significant dissolved nor suspended load. Whereas headwater streams on the Appalachian Plateau typically have low dissolved loads, values in this study are particularly low, possibly due to the numerous serious precipitation events throughout the past year (producing approximately ten times the discharge in Loyalsock Creek as compared to 2017). Water emptying from the wetland was discolored with significant foam and showed appreciable aluminum, iron and manganese compared to the other stream samples, possibly a result of organic acids from the wetland. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis of the filter from the wetland sample showed various diatoms and other microorganisms, indicating good water quality despite the low pH.