Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick, the chair of Youngstown State University's department of geological and environmental sciences, recently spoke to more than 100 people who attended the meeting at the Liberty Township Administration Building on oil and gas drilling.
He lectured about how the Clinton sandstone natural gas fields, as well as others in the state, have evolved and how gas and oil companies became more interested in certain areas once new technology was developed.
Although outside the scope of the lecture, many attendees asked Dick about how drilling in the local portions of the Utica and Marcellus shale deposits could affect their water supplies.
Dick did say that those with well water supplies should get their water tested independently, and that they should pay more attention to their wells in the event companies begin to drill into the Utica shale, which is 7,500 feet below the surface and would be the target of most drilling in Trumbull County.
"It might help them understand the nature of the problem," Dick said.
Steve Kramer, who works for the Trumbull County Health Department, told attendees that the county will test water supplies upon request. He said the fee is about $107 plus $25 for lab usage. He also said to be statistically accurate, testing should be done once per month for three months.
Liberty Trustee Jodi Stoyak, who organized the meeting, urged people to tell the trustees if they have problems with their well water.
No drilling has been done on the Utica Shale in Ohio, although it is estimated to hold about 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas that some experts predict it could have political and economic implications worldwide.
Locally, the shale's location has been credited with urging V&M Star to build a $650 million expansion and Ultra Premium Oilfield Services to open a new factory in Brookfield.
Stoyak said she planned to hold another meeting with members from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to speak about the environmental effects of natural gas drilling, including water contamination. She said she organized the meeting because she received several phone calls from residents worried about their water supply.
"I wanted an educational seminar and that's what I got," Stoyak said. "I think I'll organize another meeting so people can delve into the environmental and regulatory side of things. Those are important issues."