To provide an early warning system for potential natural gas drilling incidents, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) on Tuesday said it would expand its network of electronic water quality monitors on streams that flow through the Marcellus Shale region of New York and Pennsylvania.
In one agreement finalized Tuesday, the SRBC and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) said they jointly would finance the installation of real-time monitoring stations in 10 watersheds in the Southern Tier of New York. NYSERDA provided the $200,000 financial support for the monitors, and SRBC would pay for installation and maintenance.
The SRBC also is close to completing an agreement with Pennsylvania officials to install 10 additional monitors on streams in state forests, where more than 700,000 acres have been leased for drilling.
The new devices would bring to 50 the number of monitors the SRBC intends to install across the basin through May.
The monitors test water quality every five minutes, measuring water temperature, acidity, dissolved-oxygen levels, turbidity and ability to conduct electricity, an indicator of the presence of pollutants. Water quality data is publicly available at www.srbc.net.