Lead in Northern Appalachian Groundwater

by | Aug 4, 2016

Research Summary

Lead in Flint Michigan drinking water has been in the headlines nearly every day increasing public awareness of lead in drinking water. 

Years before Flint made headlines, IES Senior Scientist, Don Siegel, started evaluating the natural chemistry  —including lead and arsenic— of over 25,000 groundwater samples in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The data, collected by Chesapeake Energy Corporation, constitutes one of the largest groundwater datasets in the nation, effectively including the entire population of water wells in a multiple county-wide study area.

Siegel and colleagues found arsenic and lead in groundwater samples from many private wells, sometimes at concentrations greater than drinking water standards. 

He is now exploring whether lead concentrations are due to natural corrosion of lead pipes in homes or reflect naturally occurring lead in groundwater. 

Arsenic in groundwater has no relationship to corrosivity of the water but relates to naturally dissolving sulfur-bearing minerals in the aquifers.  

Don recently published a peer-reviewed paper in collaboration with Chesapeake Energy Corporation in the prestigious journal of the Journal of the International Association of Geochemistry. 

For More Information See:

Siegel, D.I., Smith, B., Perry, E., Bothun, R. and Hollingsworth, M., 2015. Pre-drilling water-quality data of groundwater prior to shale gas drilling in the Appalachian Basin: Analysis of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation dataset. Applied Geochemistry, 63, pp.37-57.

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