Private Water Well Testing in Gas Drilling Areas

Private water well owners are responsible for their own water quality.  Even in the absence of shale?gas drilling, well owners are strongly encouraged to evaluate their water on a regular basis in order to ensure that basic water quality standards are being met.  Information on general testing that applies to all private water supplies can be found at http://waterquality.cce.cornell.edu/testing.htm. This bulletin discusses additional testing in order to more specifically document potential impacts of Marcellus Shale gas development on drinking water supplies.  It is intended for landowners and private water well users who seek information on the need, frequency, and thoroughness of testing in the context of shale?gas activity.

The issue of testing private water wells raises these key questions:

  • ? Who should test their water?
  • ? When should testing occur?
  • ? What should be tested for?

Read the full pdf

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2 Responses to Private Water Well Testing in Gas Drilling Areas

  1. Louis Derry says:

    The problem is that the average homeowner is unlikely to want to spend the $ and could not easily interpret tests for the contaminants of concern from drilling operations. The inexpensive tests (hardness, basic chemistry) are not going to be informative. Tests for organic contaminants are more costly, and without some idea of what to look for, may well miss their mark. The only sensible solution would seem this: require advance disclosure of all additives. Test for them before and after drilling operations. Otherwise it’s likely to be an expensive but ultimately uninformative effort. But if water isn’t tested prior to operations, it may well be difficult for a landowner to prove in court that drilling operations had an impact. In many cases – including for methane – there are sources that are not connected to drilling. It would be easy for a lawyer to say, wait, that methane (or whatever) was already in the GW and the drilling operating isn’t responsible. In some cases he’d be right. Disclosure is key. Well managed drilling operations should not contaminate well water. But, prudence suggests that landowners identify what might be introduced by drilling, and test before and after.

  2. Steven Jarris says:

    I am seeing that the water well drilling is not going to slow down. I think that the best part of it is that the government should not intervene and let these people be successful. Thanks for sharing.

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