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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Working with MIT Researchers to Study Water Quality, Oil and Gas Drilling, in Ohio’s Appalachian Basin

Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), Yale Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be testing drinking water samples and conducting interviews from approximately 200 households in Belmont and Monroe Counties in Ohio this summer.

The effort is part of the WATer and Energy Resources Study (“WATER Study”) to investigate how oil and gas activities may influence groundwater chemistry and human health in the Appalachian Basin. Oil and gas extraction has been particularly intensive in Belmont and Monroe Counties, where more than 1,000 horizontal wells have been drilled in the last decade. This surge in energy production has helped make oil and gas more abundant and less expensive, but deployment of new technologies, including high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), has been accompanied by concerns about environmental contamination and health problems in host communities.
“Though fossil-fuel development involving hydraulic fracturing has expanded rapidly in Eastern Ohio, evidence on whether the practice affects water quality in nearby communities remains limited,” said YSPH assistant professor Dr. Nicole Deziel, one of the study’s lead investigators. “We are conducting the largest water quality study in the region to date to address these information gaps.”
The Ohio WATER Study started at the end of May and will continue through mid-August. As part of the study, residents will receive a report with their individual water testing results.
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