A forum will be held Wednesday evening to examine the impact of the oil and gas industry on local fresh water and groundwater supplies.
The forum, sponsored by the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters, will feature three speakers and will end with a period for questions and discussion, said LWV member Betsy Cook.
"The League of Women Voters has always taken an interest in our environment and our air quality. This goes along with the league's philosophy of education in our community," said Cook.
The three presenters include Sean Logan, chief of conservation at the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District; Pavanne Pettigrew, a retired geologist from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and current owner of a consulting firm; and Jesse Daubert, coordinator of Friends of the Lower Muskingum.
Logan said he will attempt to address concerns over the use of water from reservoirs along the Muskingum Watershed for the purpose of oil and gas exploration.
"What common sense tells us is withdrawing too much water from a small body of water can have negative impact downstream," said Logan.
If you go
What: Forum on the impact of oil and gas exploration on fresh water and groundwater.
When:7 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church Fellowship Hall, 232 Third St., Marietta.
Speakers include Sean Logan, chief of conservation for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District; Pavanne Pettigrew, a retired geologist from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and current owner of a consulting firm; and Jesse Daubert, coordinator of Friends of the Lower Muskingum
Anyone who has a small stream, a large lake, or anything in between located on their property has the right to withdraw and sell reasonable amounts of water, said Logan. Small water systems are depleted much faster than the large reservoirs created by the MWCD nearly 80 years ago for the purpose of storing excess flood water. Therefore, by selling water from large lakes along the watershed, the MWCD is reducing the pressure on small streams to supply the water, he said.
So far the MWCD has two short-term water supply agreements for the purpose of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling process that uses water, along with sand and chemicals to shatter rock thousands of feet underground to release oil and gas resources. The first took place in May and June of this year, and the second will commence this week, said Logan. Both leases are being supplied from Clendening Lake in Harrison County, he added.
"The policy surrounding this is a work in progress," said Logan.
However, the conservancy district already has experience having daily withdrawals from their reservoirs. They currently have three long-term contracts for water supply in place with the Village of Cadiz in Harrison County, the City of Cambridge in Guernsey County, and with Carroll County, said Logan.
While Logan will address the quantity of water used for hydraulic fracturing and where that water comes from, Pettigrew and Daubert are slated to talk about the potential impact on the quality of water involved in the process.
"We're wondering what happens underground and how that affects water," said LWV member Jann Adams.
According to the LWV, Pettigrew is slated to talk about how injection wells may impact groundwater. Daubert will explain a project that tests and compare water before and after it is used for hydraulic fracturing, said Cook.
The forum is free and open to the public. It will begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church Fellowship Hall at 232 Third St., Marietta.