A survey of methane in groundwater was undertaken to document methane occurrence on the basis of hydrogeologic setting within a glaciated 1,810-square-mile area of south-central New York that has not seen shale-gas resource development. The adjacent region in northeastern Pennsylvania has undergone shale-gas resource development from the Marcellus Shale.
Well construction and subsurface data were required for each well sampled so that the local hydrogeologic setting could be classified. All wells were also at least 1 mile from any known gas well (active, exploratory, or abandoned). Sixty-six domestic wells and similar purposed supply wells were sampled during summer 2012. Field water-quality characteristics (pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and temperature) were measured at each well, and samples were collected and analyzed for dissolved gases, including methane and short-chain hydrocarbons. Carbon and hydrogen isotopic ratios of methane were measured in 21 samples that had at least 0.3 milligram per liter (mg/L) methane.