Natural Gas FAQ

FAQ regarding Natural Gas Drilling and Completions on Beaver Run property

1. Why did MAWC allow natural gas operations around Beaver Run reservoir?

The MAWC Board and its Senior Management staff have had the Authority’s drilling leases reviewed by the Authority’s Solicitor, past Solicitor, and outside counsel.  The legal opinion given is that MAWC cannot restrict or prevent natural gas operators and their successors from drilling on the property within the confines of the leases.

2. What is MAWC doing to protect my drinking water?

  • MAWC has contracted with Indiana University since 2011 to conduct quarterly monitoring at 24 tributary sites and 7 reservoir sites for analytes specific to natural gas drilling and completions (hydraulic fracturing). This data is available at the following website
  • In addition, MAWC takes bi-weekly samples at 4 reservoir sites downstream of any well site which are scheduled to be completed (hydraulically fractured) bi-weekly for the month before a frac, weekly during the event, and biweekly for 2 months after the event. These samples are analyzed by our certified lab.
  • As part of our routine water treatment plant procedures, the operators monitor the source water continually for pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, and conductivity. The operators also take grab samples throughout the day for similar parameters. DO and conductivity are parameters especially reactive to pollution and the chlorides associated with flow back fluids.
  • MAWC has 2 buoys that are equipped with sonde units in the reservoir which measure the reservoir water quality every 15 minutes for temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity and chlorophyll.
  • MAWC has emergency sampling kits put together for each of our water treatment plants which include sample bottles and instructions to help us react as quickly as possible to any incident with the potential to impact any of our sources of drinking water. We also work closely with our emergency responders and have routine tabletop exercises to test our emergency procedures.
  • MAWC conducts monthly natural gas well site inspections of the pads on MAWC property to ensure there are no leaks or erosion which may impact the reservoir. The natural gas company also conducts biweekly erosion and sediment control inspections for active sites.

To date, MAWC has not had any water quality data which indicates an impact from the natural gas wells.  MAWC strives to continually improve. MAWC also has source water protection committee meetings every 6 months with local watershed groups, environmental groups, emergency responders, and industry to try to ensure that our drinking water is protected. In addition, MAWC has a quarterly source water protection newsletter.

3. Where can I get more information about the natural gas wells on the property?

4. Does MAWC limit the amount of drilling waste, production fluid or flow back fluid on site?

Storage of fluid waste on unconventional natural gas well pads are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  Specifically, Pa Code Title 25 Chapter 78a.57 regulates Control, storage and disposal of production fluids. Chapter 78a Subchapter C further describes additional Environmental Protection Performance Standards.

MAWC has taken the following actions concerning waste on well pads in the vicinity of Beaver Run Reservoir:

  • As of January 2020, MAWC has consulted the above-mentioned environmental protection performance standards and included them in our natural gas well pad checklist. Each month, MAWC staff record the number of production tanks onsite and can conservatively estimate (assuming the tanks are full) the volume of production fluid by multiplying the number of tanks by their volume (400 barrels). Currently, there is no visual way to see how much production fluid is in the tanks onsite at any given time.
  • In addition, MAWC staff, check PADEP’s oil and gas waste reports every month for the monthly quantities of fluids being emptied from the production fluid tanks onsite.

5. Is there Mercaptan added to the natural gas facilities on MAWC properties?

No, it is not. Mercaptan is added by the natural gas distribution or retail gas company downstream