February 19, 2018

Crucial Community Water Tests Now Taking Place

Microbac Laboratory Services

Pre-gas well testing of private wells and springs is a necessary step to establish a baseline for the water quality of the water source. Subsequent well testing may be performed during or after the operations to verify that the water source is unimpacted by the drilling operations.

Drilling companies operate with exemptions to all major federal environmental protections. As a result, your present water supply is endangered. If you wish to protect your private source of pure water – you must act promptly to establish a baseline reading now, before the drilling begins.

The testing must be conducted by a PA-certified and reliable laboratory that maintains a “chain of custody” – so that the results are admissible in court if legal action becomes necessary. All test results are highly confidential. Cost packages and multi-home discounts are being arranged. DCS is in the process of formulating a water testing program in our region to subsidize the costs of these tests. This important project will be an ongoing program to monitor this mostly unregulated drilling activity.

Microbac Laboratories, Inc. is certified for a wide range of drinking water testing parameters in New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and offers extensive experience in helping its customers comply with EPA, state, and local regulations.

Contact: Microbac Laboratories, Inc.

Phone: 412.459.1060
Fax: 866.515.4668

 Community Science Institute

Baseline testing measures the levels of “signature chemicals” before and after a gas well is drilled and hydraulically fractured. Post-drilling increases in “signature chemicals” provide evidence of contamination. It’s important to recognize that not all “signature chemicals” will necessarily change, and changes that do occur may be small or large, depending on the extent of contamination and the characteristics of the gas well. If post-drilling tests show a convincing “chemical signature” of contamination, more extensive tests should be performed in order to identify as many individual toxic and radioactive chemicals as possible and assess the health risks of continuing to drink the water.

In order to detect low levels of contamination, a broad “signature” is advisable that includes all of the major classes of contaminants. Some redundancy within each class is also good, because results of different tests can reinforce each other. However, too much redundancy adds unnecessary expense.

CSI recommends a comprehensive package of 20 certified baseline tests (see below). The cost for the tests is $681 for the first water source and $636 for each additional water source on your property. Travel is charged at $35/hour plus $.55/mile based on Mapquest travel times and distances. It’s our policy to split travel costs among  all the households we sample in the same area on the same day.

The Community Science Institute’s New York State-certified lab, NYSDOH-ELAP #11790, offers baseline testing of private drinking water wells for “signature chemicals” associated with contamination from shale gas operations. We have performed baseline testing on over 150 private wells, springs, ponds and lakes since 2009.

Contact: Community Science Institute
284-286 Langmuir Lab/STE 1044
95 Brown Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 257-6606
Becky Bowen, Outreach Coordinator, becky@communityscience.org
Steve Penningroth, Executive Director, lab@communityscience.org