Sunday, March 17, 2013

Protecting Drinking Water Starts with Upland Watersheds

On Wednesday, USGS released a report on the hydrogeology of the aquifer system in the Susquehanna River Valley in parts of Broome and Chenango Counties of New York. While industry flaks spin this report as proclaiming “lots of water for industrial use”. The USGS report actually highlights the role of aquifer protection in the context of gas drilling impacts:

    "Aquifer protection in the study area is a topic of public concern in relation to the potential for natural gas drilling in this part of New York. Aquifer protection efforts likely will focus on currently used resources. Information provided in this report may help managers prioritize protection of largely unused aquifers whose characteristics suggest that they are capable of providing large public or commercial water supplies." p. 17.

Rachel Treichler’s excellent analysis points out why this study is valuable to communities in the Southern Tier. Of particular importance, the report highlights the close connections between uplands and the valley aquifers. If water quality in streams is compromised by activities in the upland watershed, groundwater quality in the valleys may be compromised. Therefore, it is not good enough to simply protect valley “wellheads” for local water supplies. We need to protect the upland watersheds.

Treichler will address watershed protection options in Candor, NY on March 27, 6:30 pm at the Candor Fire Hall (Rt. 96B).


  1. we need to protect our water and I passed by streams across Compressor Stations in our Susquehanna County, Pa.. The Compressor Stations are belching out tons of toxins and it falls on the land below it and the wetlands....

  2. I was sent a copy from the author back in February and I highly recomend all people read this document. Two other spots to read are the Introduction and the Summary. Then look at the listing of references and notice the PA DCNR open field reports by the professor from Bloomsburg. They have been done in the last 10 years. You can go to the USGS website to look up this and other USGS publications. Note some times the Maps are 30 inches by 38 inches and are large files.

    The report number and name is:

    Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5282
    Hydrogeology of the Susquehanna River valley-fill aquifer system and adjacent areas in eastern Broome and southeastern Chenango Counties, New York

    Other USGS reports to look at:

    Open-File Report 2012–1154
    Landscape Consequences of Natural Gas Extraction in Bradford and Washington Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004–2010

    Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5127

    Hydrogeology of the stratified-drift aquifers in the Cayuta Creek and Catatonk Creek valleys in parts of Tompkins, Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga Counties, New York