Susquehanna River Basin monitoring network expands

By on October 5, 2010

A remote water quality monitoring network in the Susquehanna River Basin is expanding with 25 additional stations. The network helps officials monitor the water quality in areas where natural gas drilling occurs.

Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale formation poses a significant threat to the river basin. The shale’s sedimentary rock holds sizable natural gas reserves, and a recent boom in drilling has heightened the danger to local water quality.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission has been working to establish a comprehensive network of real-time monitoring stations in small streams and rivers throughout the basin. A monitoring system for the Susquehanna River itself is already in place, but the more expansive network was called for to better assess the impact of the drilling.

NexSens Technology has provided the data logging and remote telemetry systems used in the network. Each water quality station includes a NexSens data logger equipped with either cellular or Iridium satellite telemetry.

Monitoring sites are planned for locations where drilling in the shale is most active, as well as other locations with no drilling to serve as control data. Many of the new stations will be used for the New York portion of the project and as part of a partnership developing between SRBC and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The water quality data collected includes water temperature, level, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity measurements. It may be viewed by officials, scientists, and the public to keep tabs on their local rivers and streams for threats of natural gas pollution as well as any other irregularities in the water.

For more information on the water quality monitoring network, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s website.

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