Baseline Water Sampling to Support Natural Gas Well Development, PA and OH

Weston performed sampling of residential wells and surface water bodies to document water conditions prior to natural gas well development activities in the Marcellus (PA) and Utica (OH) Shale Formations.

Weston provided full-service environmental consulting for a major gas exploration company as it quickly ramped up operations in PA and OH. Baseline water sampling was conducted at residential locations to identify and document groundwater conditions to protect our client from liability associated with water quality issues that existed prior to natural gas exploration activity, in a cost-effective, safe, timely, and precise manner. Where existing water quality issues were identified, we assisted property owners in addressing them by notifying the client of the issues, so they could promptly direct additional monitoring and work to be performed. In some cases, we conducted stray gas monitoring or performed additional sampling as requested.

In all, we collected over 8,000 water samples across large, rural areas in PA and OH and managed and reported an enormous quantity of data. Attention to detail with respect to documentation and quality control procedures was critical to the project, from records of interaction with property owners to managing lab results, and finally, to the generation of summary reports to property owners and the client.

To meet this challenge, two dedicated project offices were created in locations central to the sampling areas and staffed with over 50 employees at the peak of operations. To manage the enormous amount of data and documentation generated, Weston developed the ShaleFastSM and ShaleFastSM Viewer data management tools. ShaleFastSM integrated with other data systems, including EarthSoft®’s EQuISTM. ShaleFastSM enhanced the functionality of other systems by filling the niche for scheduling, tracking, and document manipulation. These tools allowed the project team to have real-time access to all sampling related data on a GIS-driven, property-centric basis, such as the following:

  • Contact information for all property owners
  • Correspondence (letters, email, phone logs)
  • Field documentation (logbooks, sketches, data sheets)
  • Photo documentation
  • Property maps
  • Results transmittal packages and certified mail receipts

With these tools, the Weston project team was able to optimize scheduling of sampling crews, effectively manage and analyze all data, efficiently generate summary reports, and enable real-time access to all data for both Weston and the client. The project team consistently met the clients’ deadlines and continuously drove down the cost per sample collected throughout the project.