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Groundbreaking Research Offers New Approach to Monitor Groundwater Resources in Ohio

Creation Date Friday, 17 October 2014.

Groundbreaking Research Offers New Approach to Monitor Groundwater Resources in Ohio

Claire Botner, a geology graduate from the University of Cincinnati (UC) conducted a groundbreaking research that outlines a unique approach to monitor the groundwater resources along the hydraulic fracking sites in Ohio. This study is part of the UC Groundwater Research of Ohio (GRO) project on examining the impacts of fracking on groundwater in the Utica Shale of the state.

Initially, this research was first launched by a team of GRO researchers from the Department of Geology at UC and took over in Caroll County last 2012. The collaborative research examined the methane levels and its origin in private wells and springs during and after the onset of fracking.

As a common impetus, fracking or fracturing pressurizes a large amount of water combined with sand and chemicals to form natural gas resources. This technique offers a range of economic benefits such as low energy prices, increase in domestic jobs and less dependence on foreign oil from overseas governments. However, contradicting views on the process pointed out potential environmental effects including contamination of groundwater, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, noise pollution and more.

Highlighting the post contamination effect in groundwater, Botner tested 22 private wells in Caroll County, which showed relatively different concentration of methane levels and methane readings from organic matters. To further verify the data obtained from the research, UC sampling has been expanded in the counties of Columbiana, Harrison, Stark and Belmont in Ohio.

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