As the debate over the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing rages on, a new report from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s (SRBC) continuous water quality monitoring project does not show evidence of water quality changes as a result of natural gas development. In an article by Kevin Randolph from the Pennsylvania Business Report, he reports that “in January 2010 the SRBC began measuring and reporting water quality conditions in small streams that could potentially be impacted by the natural gas industry.” The SRBC water quality monitoring project monitors specific conductivity, turbidity and water temperature, which would reveal any immediate impacts from natural gas drilling activities. One organization that has a particularly strong interest in this report is the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC).
The University of Pittsburgh has always been regarded as a world class research institution, and now they are taking that reputation into the world of natural gas. Researchers from the Swanson School of Engineering were recently awarded a $1.76 million grant from the Department of Energy to conduct testing on a new method for treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater. University of Pitt is teaming up with EQT, a Pittsburgh-based natural gas company, and Aquatech International LLC, a wastewater treatment company, to develop their new method.