Methane in drinking water unrelated to fracking, study suggests

.  Fracking Well

…and the controversy continues

Here’s a study, using data supplied by Chesapeake Energy Corp. which has large oil and gas stakes in Pennsylvania, that refutes the notion about the level of methane in well water is caused by hydraulic fracturing:

Fracking doesn’t appear to be allowing methane to seriously contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, a new study finds—contrary to some earlier, much publicized research that suggested a stronger link. But the lead authors of the two bodies of research are sparring over the validity of the new results.

The new study of 11,309 drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania concludes that background levels of methane in the water are unrelated to the location of hundreds of oil and gas wells that tap hydraulically fractured, or fracked, rock formations. The finding suggests that fracking operations are not significantly contributing to the leakage of methane from deep rock formations, where oil and gas are extracted, up to the shallower aquifers where well water is drawn.

The result also calls into question prominent studies in 2011 and 2013 that did find a correlation in a nearby part of Pennsylvania. There, wells closer to fracking sites had higher levels of methane. Those studies, however, were based on just 60 and 141 domestic well samples, respectively.”

You can read the rest of the article at: http://goo.gl/GIRhyz

EPA releases first part of fracking study, an analysis of chemical disclosure

Hydraulic Fracking WellThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is starting to release its long-awaiting study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The complete report is expected to be released later this spring.

The study ran from January, 2011 to February, 2013

The first part of the report that has been released says that less than 1% of the fluid used in the fracking operation contained additives in their analysis of 39,000 wells. 

The report stated, “The agency identified 692 separate frack water ingredients. Maximum concentrations of these chemicals were usually below 2 percent of the total mass, while half of the chemicals were below 0.3 percent of mass. The chemicals that were found to be the most present in the wells were hydrochloric acid, methanol, and hydro-treated light petroleum distillates. Hydrochloric acid is used to keep the well casings free of mineral build-ups, while methanol is used to increase viscosity. Petroleum distillates are refined products like diesel, kerosene, or fuel oil, and are used to make the fluid “slick,” or soapy, and thereby reduce friction.”

The full EPA report will address the questions regarding the toxicity of the chemicals that were found in the water.

Once again, the release of this information about fracking points to the need for well owners to take some matters into their own hands if they want to be sure they and their family are drinking safe, clean well water. 

We urge well owners living near a fracking well operation to test their well water and use it as a ‘baseline test’. Then, on at least an annually basis, they should have their well water tested to see if any contaminants are beginning to show up. If they are found, the well owner should observe their level of concentration over time to see if it growing. This information enables the well owner to put the right filtration treatment in place to make their water safe and clean.

Learn more about well water testing at Drinking Water Specialists

You can read the original article about this report here.

McHenry County Department of Health offers reduced fee water testing in April

Testing Well Water

We think it’s terrific when a local health department takes the initiative to make it easy for well owners in their jurisdiction to have their water tested for key contaminants. 

I ran across this news article from a county northwest of Chicago, McHenry County, that is offering well owners a water test for coliform bacteria and nitrate for only $18. Since these are the dangerous to humans and pets, all well owners in the county should take advantage of this offer. All you need to do is pick up the sterile vials, fill them with your unfiltered well water and drop them off for testing. 

We hope more and more health departments start doing this. I can’t tell you how many well owners we talk with who have never—as in ‘never’—had their well water tested. I guess they figure if they are still alive, and the water tastes and looks fine, and they have no problems.

We know that’s not necessarily true. About 25 to 30% of the well water we test has an unhealthy level of pathogenic bacteria. That’s a very high percentage. These are hidden contaminants because you cannot see them, smell them or taste them. In addition to coliform bacteria, there are also other ‘hidden’ bacteria such as H. pylori that can cause peptic ulcer disease, or giardia lamblia that can cause serious illness with symptoms such as stomach pains, diarrhea, and dehydration.

These ‘hidden’ bacteria are not easy, or inexpensive to test for. That’s why they are not normally included in standard tests. 

Treating for all bacteria including coliform and the ‘hidden’ bacteria is not hard. In fact, we put together a kit that you can use to sanitize your well. As long as you can remove the cap to your wellhead and can run water from hose connected to an outside faucet, you can easily do this. Not only did we make it affordable, but you will do a better job than the average ‘expert’.

Bottom line: have your well water tested at least once a year and sanitize your well annually.

We’ve made a video you can view for free that explains, in terms the well owner can understand, more about wells and how to treat them: The Why and How Behind Chlorination

You can read the article about the well water testing available for McHenry County IL well owners McHenry County IL Well Water Testing.

Be Wary of Organizations Offering Residential Water Testing

Door-to-Door Scam Artist

This scam could be happening in your home town, so be aware! If you have any doubts, call your town or city hall.

The City of Swift Current wishes to advise residents that there have been reports of a number of organizations falsely contacting local residents to test water under the pretense of being contracted to do so by the City. The City of Swift Current is in no way affiliated with these organizations.

Reportedly, these organizations have been advising homeowners that they have been contracted by the City of Swift Current to conduct required water testing. Upon gaining access to residents’ homes, these organizations direct residents to purchase water filters and other merchandise sold by their company.

To read the full posting go here: Be wary of organizations offering residential water testing

To learn more about water testing you can trust either go here or go to Water Testing by Professional Lab at Amazon.

Basic Steps to Protect Private Drinking Water

Typical Wellhead

Typical Wellhead

Properly maintaining wells that tap into groundwater is critical for protecting personal health and the resource, say state health officials. National Groundwater Awareness Week was established more than two decades ago to bring attention to the important role that groundwater plays in the health and well-being of people. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends all well owners take some basic steps to maintain their well and protect their drinking water.

Basic Wellhead Inspection: Keep insects, rodents, snakes and other undesirable critters out of your well. Keep lawn mowers, snowplows and other equipment away from wells. Follow the Three Cs of well maintenance:

  • Cap – ensure the well cap is securely attached and not broken or missing, and the connections through the cap are watertight.
  • Casing – observe the well pipe or casing for cracks or corrosion. Call a licensed well contractor for repairs.
  • Conduit – confirm that the conduit for the electric service wire to the well is securely connected to the well cap.

Well Water Testing: Complete basic water testing to ensure safe drinking water. Your local county health department may provide or arrange for testing, or you can find certified testing laboratories at the website below.

The following are what you typically will want to test your water for. Other testing may be needed depending on where you live and the surrounding land use.

  • Bacteria – complete a total coliform bacteria test annually or any time your water system is serviced, or you notice a change in taste, color, or odor.
  • Nitrate – complete a nitrate test every two years, or annually if nitrate is detected in your well, and always before giving the water to an infant.
  • Arsenic – complete an arsenic test once.
  • Lead – complete a lead test once, or always flush faucets for at least one to two minutes before using water from them for drinking or cooking when the water has not been used for six hours or longer and never drink from your hot water taps.

You can read the complete posting here:  Basic steps to protect private drinking water

To learn more about well water maintenance and well water testing, go to: Well Water Testing & Maintenace

Test Your Well Water Before the Peak Water Use Season Begins

We are beginning to read reminders from state environmental agencies that this is the season well owners need to be performing their annual well and well water checkups. Here’s one that just came from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services:

Just as you check your furnace or replace smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup and to test your well water before the peak water use season begins, according to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). National Groundwater Awareness Week is March 8 to 14, but New Hampshire residents will need to wait for the snow to melt before doing their annual well checkup.

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water. Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of a well and related equipment. NHDES recommends that private well users test their water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, when the system is serviced, or at least once every three years.

Nearly half of N.H. residents receive their drinking water from private wells, as opposed to regulated public water systems. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the well in good working order and testing for common contaminants such as arsenic and radon. A check of your well should include:

  • Checking the well cover to make sure it keeps out insects, snakes, and other animals;
  • Making sure the casing is high enough to keep out snowmelt and surface runoff;
  • Making sure the well is located far enough from septic systems and other potential sources of contamination such as storage sheds, areas where pesticides or fertilizers are used, or where lawn and garden equipment is fueled; and
  • An annual test for bacteria, nitrate, and nitrite, and testing for a longer list of contaminants every three years.

You can read the original posting Reminder from NHDES to Test Well Water.

To learn more about well water testing and to see a free video, go to http://www.drinkingwaterspecialists.com

Baseline Water Testing for Well Owner in Fracking Areas

Here’s a headline that caught my attention today:

Urge lawmakers to act on water testing

Fracking

The crux of this Letter to Editor in the Billings (MT) Gazette from Deborah Hanson of Miles City was to urge landowners who might be affected by fracking activity going in their area to contact their state senators to support baseline water testing.

We have been urging well owners who live in areas where fracking operations are present to do this for quite some time. What this gives the well owner is just what the term ‘base testing’ implies—you now have a documented reading of the primary contaminants that a point in time…hopefully, before the fracking operation actually begins. But, even if it has already started in your area, you can still use this method. After the baseline test has been done, you will continue to have your water tested. We recommend that it be done annually, but it may need to be done more frequently if you start to see increased levels of certain contaminants or you, members of your family, or your pets and livestock start getting sick.

The writer says the testing can be expensive, and it can be. That’s why she urges the cost be covered by the companies doing the drilling. We think this is also a good idea and the right thing for the companies to do to prove they are being good citizens.

In the meantime, if I was a well owner, I wouldn’t wait for this to make its way though the legislature. I would find an economical way to have my water tested ASAP so I have my own baseline. You can go to a local lab and have this done, but it’s probably going to cost you a fair amount. That’s because labs normally price their testing on the number and specific types of parameters you want to test for.

We created a water test that is designed to be a baseline test at a very affordable price. That’s because we have a fixed set of contaminants and other parameters we test for. This saves us set up time and we pass these savings onto our customers. We believe that the cost of such a test should not be a barrier having it tested, especially in these fracking locations.

You can read the original Letter to the Editor here.

If you want to learn more, please visit our site and read about the ‘Bang-for-the-Buck’ Essential Indicators Water Test. It can either be ordered directly from us or on Amazon.