Lycoming County Baseline Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program Rollout

May 15, 2014

The Lycoming County Board of Commissioners is pleased to announce the rollout of the County's Baseline Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 15, at the Commissioners Board Room, first floor of the Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St., Williamsport, PA 17701. This study aims to determine the quality of groundwater currently being withdrawn by privately owned wells within the county.

The County of Lycoming was awarded $250,000 in state grant dollars by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) though the Act 13 Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund to conduct a county-wide groundwater sampling program. This is one of two groundwater quality baseline studies selected for state funding in 2013, and the only one to be conducted entirely within the Susquehanna River Basin.

The county's partners in this project include the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, West Branch Regional Authority, and the North Central Source Water Protection Alliance.

As a steward of the health and well-being of our residents, businesses and communities, the county has a vested interest in our water resources. While surface waters across Lycoming County have been diligently studied and monitored by PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), groundwater presents a gap in our collective understanding. As stated by county Commissioner Jeff Wheeland, "This study will provide information on the pre-existing condition of our groundwater, and is an opportunity to understand what is native to our source water so we can assess the impact of agricultural, mining and other land-use practices on our groundwater."

Additionally, as noted by Eric Moore, executive director of the West Branch Regional Authority and member of the North Central PA Source Water Protection Alliance, "Drinking water supplies in the county primarily come from groundwater sources. The well testing will provide us with a snapshot of the health of the drinking water sources that serve the families and businesses of Lycoming County."

For the Baseline Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program, the county and its partners have designed a sampling program that will help to provide a comprehensive, objective, and scientific assessment of our groundwater resources.

The USGS will provide technical oversight of this study and will guide the well-site selection in order to achieve a comprehensive picture of the water quality throughout the different land uses and geologies in the county. As stated by USGS representatives, "The U.S. Geological Survey shares the interests of this forward-thinking partnership and views this project as an exciting opportunity to contribute technical expertise and funding support toward the important goal of characterizing current groundwater-quality conditions in aquifers tapped by domestic-supply wells in Lycoming County."

The sampling is scheduled to take place this summer and will include about 72 randomly selected, privately owned domestic wells within the county. The site selection process will include voluntary participation by residents. These assessments will be provided free of charge to the selected well owners.

Analysis of the groundwater samples will be completed by Seewald Laboratory Inc., a Williamsport-based, family-owned company. Seewald Laboratory brings with them 75 years of laboratory-testing expertise and will be a key partner in the Baseline Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program.