Thursday, November 25, 2010

Getting the Waters Tested and Your Water Tested Prior to Natural Gas Development

These are all the buzz words you may be hearing related to water testing:

Independent Baseline Water Testing
Third Party Sampling
Chain of Custody
Baseline Testing
A Water Check
Drinking Water Screening
A Well Check Up

I like to use the following phrases:
1. We need to Get the Waters Tested- this is because groundwater and surfacewater are connected and that we all live downstream of each other.   Surfacewater at one location in a short period of time becomes surfacewater at another location.  This is easy to see and understand, but groundwater at one location moves to another location, but the path and time frame may not be what we anticipate or understand.  

2. Groundwater becomes surfacewater - this is because groundwater discharge or baseflow is really what supports are streams and tributaries.  About 60 to 70% of annual stream flow is actually groundwater discharge or baseflow - the systems are connected.   Therefore, we need to test both sources and track change.

3.We all live downstream - this is a simple fact.  We understand that water flows through a stream from village to village, but we see to forget that groundwater follows this same process.  It may not go in the same direction or follow the same time line.  Therefore, a problem upgradient for a well is a future problem for a citizen downgradient - the other problem is we do not always know what is downgradient.  In general, groundwater moves very slowly, i.e., feet per year, but we start pumping a well we can significantly change the natural groundwater gradient and rate of movement.

4. Work as a community - groundwater quality is not an issue for a citizen but a community.  It takes a village to raise a child and to protect groundwater and our surfacewater resources it takes a community.

Mr. Brian Oram is the owner of B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc and actively involved with research in water treatment, water quality, and groundwater issues at Wilkes University.
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. provides environmental consulting, expert witness, water quality sampling, baseline water sampling/ testing/analysis, chain-of-custody services, and education outreach services to landowners and other organizations. The primary focus of our outreach efforts is to aid in evaluating and documenting baseline environmental conditions, evaluate potential for environmental impact, educate citizens on the natural gas development, and assist municipalities/ citizen groups in planning related activities.

If you need baseline testing related to Marcellus Shale- Go Here.
If you are interested in being involved with the Wilkes University Citizen Database for Northeastern Pennsylvania or need information on suggested parameters by the University- Go Here.

Informational Water Testing Services
Point of Use Water Treatment Systems
Test the Water Yourself

1 comment:

  1. I forgot one:
    1. Certified Collector
    2. Water Sampler
    Guess what - no certifications, no training requirements, and no base education. If you are going to hirer someone to collect a baseline sample, it would be advisable that you hirer someone with a strong background in the field, licensed professional, an individual with a licensed issued by the state, or an agent working directly for a certified lab.

    In this process, the following are the key components:
    1. What testing should be done?
    2. Proper collection and purging of the sample?
    3. Proper handling?
    4. Proper testing?
    5. Interpretation of the data?
    6. Background and experience?
    7. Are these individuals, companies, or others recognized as regional experts?

    These five components require a specific set of skills - it is not just someone filling up a sample bottle. It is much more.