WVU Officials Present Findings After Monitoring Marcellus Drilli - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WVU Officials Present Findings After Monitoring Marcellus Drilling Operations

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The West Virginia University Extension Service hosted a forum on Tuesday evening about monitoring Marcellus shale drilling operations.

Dr. Michael McCawley with the WVU department of occupational and environmental health sciences gave a presentation on his findings from a study he did.

In this study, his team did research at seven drilling sites and sampled the dust, noise, light, and volatile compounds present.

McCawley said this information is important for the public to know.

"What we're talking about is whether or not there could be health effects or safety problems due to any of the operations going on at the drill sites. A lot of times, we have done things in the past that we haven't been certain about what the ramifications were going to be and many times those have come back and bit us," explained McCawley.

McCawley said the West Virginia Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act of 2011 set a 625 foot set-back from the center of the pad of a horizontal drilling site.

This means that no houses, farms, schools, or anything similar can be within 625 feet of the center of a well pad.

The tests were done at this 625 foot mark and found that Benzene levels were high, but further studies need to be done.

The public was at the forum and got to ask questions.

Tom Bond said he came to the forum and that it was nice to actually see some numbers, but more work needs done.

"I think that there are a lot of things that are being seriously overlooked, and I think they were seriously under funded and there's a lot that needs to be looked into," said Bond, who is from Jane Lew.

McCawley said he will be presenting his findings to legislators next week.

He also said he will be suggesting that instead of the 625 foot setback, that monitors be installed at every well site.

McCawley will hold a similar discussion Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Erikson Alumni Center at WVU.

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