Price of Homes in Washington County, Pennsylvania is Impacted by Perceived Threat of Groundwater Contamination
The National Groundwater Association reports that price of homes in the vicinity of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale, in Washington County, Pennsylvania is impacted by the threat of groundwater contamination.
In its July 5th issue of NGWA Newszine, the Association writes about a study conducted by Resources for the Future (RFF), which finds that the price of homes within about a mile of a shale gas well is effected by the threat of groundwater contamination.
The article notes that the price of homes that source water from private wells fell by 16% between 2004 and 2009, when the number of shale gas wells in the region increased dramatically. According to the article, the RFF study finds that the drop in price “may be linked to fears of potential groundwater contamination from shale drilling operations.”
Conversely, the price of homes in the shale region that source water from municipal water mains rose by nearly 10%. According to the article, this is “most likely due to expectations of increased value from gas drilling leases“.
It is important to note that RFF did not collect any actual data on groundwater quality. Thus, the study shows correlation between perceived threat of groundwater contamination and home price, and not correlation between price and actual occurrence of groundwater contamination. Apparently, perceived threat of groundwater contamination alone is enough to impact in the price of homes in this shale gas development region. Researchers from RFF note that the “Even if shale gas operations do not contaminate groundwater in the short run, the stigma from the possibility of future groundwater contamination may negatively affect property values, resulting in important long-term consequences for homeowners,” In short, “perceptions matter”.
The entire article from the July 5th issue of the NWGA Newszine is found here.
Information for homeowners, about testing wells in gas and oil development areas for contamination, is available on the NGWA website.