Keeley Walsh, 2019, Geosciences

I conducted research on the impact of natural gas pipelines on water quality in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. I worked alongside Tullis Onstott and another intern as we travelled to several different wells to collect water samples for lab and field analysis. We tested for arsenic, sulfide, ammonia and dissolved-oxygen concentrations on site. Our main concern was if pipelines cause an increase of arsenic in homeowners’ drinking water. I was mostly responsible for analyzing the water samples for their dissolved-gas concentrations in the lab using gas chromatography. We compiled all our data from the lab and field to determine if there were any correlations between arsenic concentration and dissolved gases, well depth, or the distance of the well to the pipeline. The results of our work were sent to the homeowners and the Raritan Headwaters Association for their records. Through this internship I have learned to use several different techniques to analyze water composition, to conduct research that directly impacts a local community, and to write reports that explain our findings to the general public. I plan to continue this research for my junior independent project because I believe that we can yield more conclusive results by increasing our sample size.