Friday, November 23, 2012

Baseline Water Testing Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Need for the Water Research Center and Help for Private Well Owners in 

Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, and other states.
Why I do the work I do .
At the - we get about 500 to 1500 unique visitors per day, but very few emails.  In most cases, private well owners find the information they need for free. 

Well Today I Received the following:

"I recently had my water tested at our lake cabin.  It has been in the family for decades.  The cabin is in the woods near a small lake.  The water started to develop a taste and now that water seems to have a lot of gas bubbles.  We have one of the deepest wells at the lake.  The well is 400 feet deep.  Here is the data:
pH - 8.75
Conductivity - 1875 us/cm
Methane - 17.8 mg/L
Ethane - < 0.02 mg/L
Propane - < 0.01 mg/L

Any thoughts?

Signed P

Well P,
1. Thanks for supporting the citizens groundwater and surfacewater database.
2. Since you say you have no previous water quality data, it is difficult to really compare, but based on the data there appears to be a change in the quality.  Why ? Not sure.
3. The high pH, conductivity, and high gas suggests that this could be in issue related to saline water migration.
4. I would recommend the following
a. Go to this website and read the information on methane gas and private wells .  Based on the ratio of methane to ethane - I would suspect the source is biogenic gas, but more testing would be needed.

b. Contact the PADEPNote:  Any time the level of methane is at or greater than 7 mg/L - Contact- PADEP and the Local Natural Gas Company in Your Area – Under Oil and Gas Law- Section 78.89 – “When an operator or owner is notified of or otherwise made aware of a POTENTIAL natural gas migration incident, the operator shall immediately conduct an investigation of the incident”.

c. Get a more comprehensive water test - if you have no baseline testing and not much money consider conducting an informational water test to screen the sample or speak to your neighbors and see if they have any baseline data.  When you decide the direction you are going to proceed - let me know.  I can provide more guidance.

d. I checked the citizen database -I am sorry to say we do not have much data for your area -  but please let people know about the citizen groundwater database it is easy to submit data to the database and it is FREE.

e. Because of the high conductivity, I can only suspected that there are elevated levels of barium and other constituents in the water.  It may be advisable to use bottled water for drinking until you get more information.

Again - I hope this helps.
We need to work as a Community

Mr. Brian Oram, PG

PS- New Educational Guide for Private Well Owners in Pennsylvania.

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1 comment:

  1. Pennsylvanians are very lucky to have a good water sytem, where researches are done to know the quality of water. When I went to one of the isolated towns in the Philippines, I see how people thirst for clean water. They got their water from deep wells. It was really hard to see.