Fracking fluid in your water. For those of us living close to where gas drilling takes place, it might be a good idea to test your water for fracking fluids. This is especially true in southwestern PA. This can be done with a testing kit available for purchase from several different companies. One company that we’ve found is National Testing Laboratories, Ltd.

National Testing Laboratories has developed baseline water quality testing packages. These packages are based on recommendations from Wilkes University, Penn State University, and the Pennsylvania DEP.  These packages have been developed for Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and Maryland.  Three testing levels are available as well as additional add-on testing components.  A brochure has been for baseline water testing that explains more about the testing.

Tests for Fracking Fluid in Your Water

There are tests that will check for the minimum contaminants that can be associated with gas drilling. And there are tests that look specifically for chemicals that are involved in the fracking process.

There does seem to be some confusion as to just what to test for that would indicate drilling fluids are contaminating a water supply. Chances are there are already trace amounts of “contaminants” in your water right now. It’s important to know what is naturally occurring. This is because of water runoff from roadways could be contaminating your water. As opposed to contaminants caused by drilling activity. Even the weather sometimes plays a role in water quality.

Because drilling wastewater causes a high level of “total dissolved solids” (meaning there are a lot of particles in the fluid), advice for self-testing your water is shown below from a recent Geological Society meeting in Pittsburgh.

Protect Yourself

Homeowners that live near a fracking operation should be proactive in protecting themselves by taking three steps: 

  • Test water daily with a conductivity pen, which measures the ability of dissolved materials in the water to conduct electricity. 
  • Identify those dissolved materials, which can be done with a testing kit certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and purchased as described above.
  • Keep a detailed notebook, recording the daily results and observations about color, taste, and odor.

Enlisting More Help

Although the above may seem like a lot of work for homeowners in a gas well drilling area, it should be carefully considered.  Homeowners concerned about water quality may also want to enlist the help of a water testing company to test their water for them.  Marcellus Drilling News has suggested that some drilling companies with operations up to a half mile away may be willing to fund water tests.  The key point is to make sure you test before drilling begins. This is so you have documented evidence of the water’s quality both before and after drilling.

Each state mandates the gas drillers to test the water wells within certain distances of a drill pad to a dwelling.  In Ohio for example, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requires that gas drillers test the well water of anyone who is within 300 feet of a drill site.  Pennsylvania, on the other hand, requires a distance of 1000 ft.  The gas drillers will typically hire a testing lab to run a series of tests and will report the results back to both the company and homeowner.  If you are a homeowner and are outside of the preset distance requirement, then you’re probably on your own; the drilling company is not required to test your water.

Using a 3rd Party

Whether you are within the distance requirement or not, you should also consider testing your water with an independent 3rd party state-certified water testing laboratory as opposed to only doing it yourself.

And no matter what you are testing for, again always be sure to test before drilling begins. Make sure to test again once drilling is underway.  That’s the only true way to determine if a significant difference exists in your water because of the drilling.

So Call Proudfoot!

Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating and Air can steer you in the right direction when it comes to testing your water.  Please give us a call at 1-412-461-2198 or contact us.  We will be glad to help out and/or make recommendations for you in this regard.

Image Credits – Adobe Stock

Schedule Service

At Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we are here to help you and are happy to process your scheduling request by email if that is your preference. Please indicate what service area you require in your request, and we will get back to you within one business day of receiving it.

Contact Us from Proudfoot Plumbing