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Information for Participants

For members of the community:

  • The study is now closed to recruitment.
  • Many factors can influence the quality of our drinking water. The goal of The Yale WATER Study is to better understand drinking water quality in areas with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
  • Participation involves a home visit to collect water from your well or spring and a questionnaire about you and your home.
  • You can receive the results of your water testing if you choose. Compensation of $20 upon completion of the home visit.

If you would like more information, you can:

Frequently Asked Questions (General)

What is the purpose of the study?
  • The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of the quality of drinking water in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia communities with oil and natural gas development.
Who can participate?
  • 21 years of age and older.
  • Home served by ground water (private well or spring).
What will be involved if I participate?
  • We will contact you by phone for a brief screening interview. If you are selected as a participant, we will schedule a time to visit your home.
  • During this home visit, a team of two researchers will collect some samples of your drinking water. The field team will ask you questions about your home. Examples of questions about your home include: "When was your home built?" and "What is your main drinking water source?" We will also measure the location of your home using a geopositioning system, or GPS.
  • The visit to your home will last approximately 45 to 90 minutes.
  • All participants will receive $20 upon completion of the home visit.
When does the study start?
  • Recruitment for the study is complete.
  • We visited homes in Wetzel County and surrounding areas in West Virginia in the fall of 2020. For the safety of the community in West Virginia and our team, we considered all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic carefully.
  • We visited homes in Bradford County, Pennsylvania in summer 2018.
  • We visited homes in Belmont and Monroe Counties in Ohio and some surrounding areas in summer 2019.
  • Sample and data analysis are ongoing.
Are there any risks to being in the study?
  • Fall 2020: To reduce any risks from COVID-19 to study participants, their family, and our study team, we will be collecting water from a source outside the home. Protective gear will be worn at all times. Several aspects of the study will be conducted over the phone rather than in-person.
  • There are no physical risks associated with participating in the study.
  • The samples and information will only be used for research and will not be sold.
  • Any information collected about your home will be assigned a random identification number so that it cannot be linked to you or your home.
  • The findings of this study may be used for scientific publication or presentation, but no information that would reveal your identity will be included. We will never reveal the measurements or information collected at a specific home or neighborhood.
Are there any benefits to being in the study?
  • We will share the results of your water tests with you if you choose. Your results will be put into context by comparing them to government safe levels, where available.
  • By participating in the study, you will contribute to important environmental research.
  • All participants receive $20 upon completion of the home visit.
What if I agreed to participate, but changed my mind?
  • Participating in this study is voluntary. You are free to choose not to take part in this study.
  • If you do participate in the study, you are free to stop and withdraw from this study at any time during its course. To withdraw from the study, you can contact a member of the research team at any time and tell them you no longer want to take part. This will cancel any future house visits and no new information identifying you will be gathered after that date.
Who can I contact with questions?
  • Email us at or contact us by phone at 203-737-6229 to speak to a member of our research team.