Conference takes aim at state’s orphan well problem

More than 150 years after the first commercial oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, decades of energy exploration have resulted in hundreds of thousands of abandoned, lost and forgotten oil and gas wells scattered across the state.

Researchers at Penn State are among a number of organizations in Pennsylvania working to locate and assess these so called orphaned and abandoned wells, which if not properly plugged, or if damaged over time, can potentially cause air and water pollution.

Members of these organizations met together for the first time in September on Penn State's University Park campus for the Orphaned Wells Conference — a chance to discuss their work and talk about what they can accomplish by collaborating.

“I think having everyone at the same table really opened collaborative doors,” said Nooreen Meghani, a research assistant in Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. “It inspired a lot of conversation about how we can help each other.”

The conference, hosted by Penn State’s Marcellus Matters program, drew representatives from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, the state Department of Environmental Protection, Save our Streams Pa., and the Clearfield County Senior Environmental Corps.

Click here for more information: