Plugged Gas Wells Improve Water Quality
Waterbody | Problem | Project Highlights | Results | Partners & Funding
Step Run flows through a part of northwestern Pennsylvania that has been the site of oil and gas drilling since the early 1900s. Abandoned oil and gas wells have been degrading streams in this part of the state for the past 50 years. Artesian flows with high acid concentrations lower the streams' pH to below tolerable levels for many aquatic organisms. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) added Step Run to the state's 2006 Clean Water Act section 303(d) list of impaired waters due to low pH. After two local organizations partnered to plug four abandoned wells in the Step Run watershed, the pH increased to acceptable levels, and Pennsylvania removed one segment of Step Run from its 2008 303(d) list.