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Objectives

We are creating forensic tools by which the impact of hydraulic fracturing can be identified and discriminated from other potential sources of contamination. New York State (NYS) is an attractive place for our study because (1) it contains both Utica and Marcellus Shale formations, which have significant potential for methane production by hydrofracking, and (2) hydrofracking is currently banned in New York State, so current conditions in the state are “pre-hydrofracking.”

  • Objective #1: Develop geochemical fingerprinting tools to characterize origins of salinity in shallow groundwater and surface water in regions underlain by the Marcellus Shale.
  • Objective #2: Characterize geochemical parameters for present-day surface and shallow ground waters to establish a regional, pre-production baseline in New York State.
  • Objective #3: Develop a scientifically-defendable protocol, applicable throughout the Marcellus play (incl. New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio), whereby potential contamination from hydrofracking can be unequivocally determined.