Emerging water topics focus of upcoming webinar series

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA -- The effects of Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling and other emerging water-resources issues will be covered during monthly Web-based seminars produced by Penn State Extension starting this fall.

Topics over the next 12 months will include water testing, septic systems, groundwater quality, water education, West Nile virus and managing ponds and lakes.

The first webinar, "Tradeoffs for Municipal Officials in Leasing Watershed Lands for Marcellus Drilling," will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, and can be viewed at https://meeting.psu.edu/water1.

Charles Abdalla, professor of agricultural and environmental economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will be the presenter in the initial webinar, discussing the effects of shale-gas development on water resources. He will concentrate on the effects of gas-drilling activity on watershed lands used for public water supplies.

"Such activity has the potential to influence the quality and adequacy of drinking water for a large number of people and businesses," Abdalla said. "This webinar will examine issues related to leasing municipally owned watershed lands for Marcellus Shale gas exploration by reviewing the findings of a recent study of eight Pennsylvania municipalities."

Abdalla stressed that there are many aspects that must be considered when municipal watersheds are leased for drilling.

"Those factors include officials' motivations to lease subsurface gas rights, officials' knowledge of expected revenues and potential risks to their water supply, how benefits and risks were considered and weighed, and how customers and the public were involved in decisions," he said.

Pre-registration is encouraged but not required for these webinars. Recorded versions of each webinar also are posted on the website for those who cannot log on for the live version.

To register or learn more about future or recorded webinars, visit http://water.cas.psu.edu/webinars.htm.

For more information, contact Bryan Swistock at 814-863-0194 or by email at brs@psu.edu.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015