HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf and his Administration announced that a $2.5 million contract has been awarded to the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of Public Health to conduct research on the potential health effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.

According to the Pa. Department of Health, public health researchers will conduct two observational epidemiological studies focusing on known or suspected health effects related to hydraulic fracturing.

The observational studies aim to be completed within the next two years. Both will be led by University of Pittsburgh epidemiology and biostatistics professors. One study will be led by Dr. Evelyn Talbott, an epidemiology professor and director of the Environmental Epidemiology section of the public health school. The second study will be led by Dr. Jeanine Buchanich, an associate professor of biostatistics and director of the public health’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Research.

“We have heard the concerns from families and community members impacted by cancer and other health issues in the southwestern part of the state, and we are dedicated to taking the proper steps to keep our residents healthy,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

As a part of the research, Pitt researchers will release quarterly updates of their observations and summaries to ensure public awareness. At the conclusion of the first year of research, an update on the study’s progress will be available, as well.