Indiana University of Pennsylvania faculty members and students have started the eighth year of water testing at the Beaver Run Reservoir as a result of a $98,748 contract with the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.
With this most recent contract, IUP has received over $667,000 since 2011 to test and monitor the surface water quality at the reservoir and surrounding watershed areas.
Students in IUP’s Geography and Regional Planning Department collect field data and water samples from the reservoir and surrounding areas, and students in the Chemistry Department test the samples and analyze the data. Leading the project are IUP faculty members Nate McElroy, Chemistry, and Brian Okey, Geography and Regional Planning.
Members of the Municipal Authority initiated the project because of unconventional (horizontal) drilling of Marcellus shale gas wells adjacent to the reservoir. The Beaver Run Reservoir holds 11 billion gallons of water and serves over 130,000 customers in the region.
Since 2011, over 40 Marcellus shale wells in eight locations adjacent to the reservoir have been installed. Recently, three Utica shale wells have been installed.
All project field and lab data can be found on the Beaver Run project website.