Gas Drilling & Water Testing

February 23, 2012

When testing to establish a legal baseline of water quality due to hydrofracturing (fracking), it is important to work with a laboratory that has experience with these types of contaminants and holds proper certification and sample collection capabilities. National Testing Laboratories has developed packages designed to adequately serve as legal baselines using various state regulations and recommendations, along with help from geologists working within the Marcellus Shale. We offer three levels of testing that provide minimum testing through comprehensive testing that looks for both contaminants found during the drilling process as well as contaminants from secondary sources.

Test Package #1 covers basic parameters commonly found in well water, including iron, manganese and methane. It is important to document contaminant levels so that if they worsen after drilling, you have evidence. The package also includes tests for chloride, bromide, sodium and total dissolved solids, which are indicators of fracking fluid contamination.

Testing Package #2 adds testing for additional metals and minerals, but most importantly tests for volatile organic chemicals, oil and grease. Most contamination occurs due to spills at the surface. It is important to document the well water quality prior to fracking to clarify that the well was free from any contaminants found after drilling.

Testing Package #3 adds radiological testing meant to document normal background radiological levels, which may change as a result of drilling.

The company has packages designed for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and, coming soon, New York. Due to stringent chain of custody and collection requirements associated with legal baseline testing, a competent sample collector must administer the collection process. National Testing Laboratories works with water treatment professionals to assist us in properly collecting these water samples. This collection process ensures adherence to proper sampling protocols and documentation that facilitate legal standing if test results are brought into litigation.