Advice on Testing Well Water as a Precaution Before Marcellus Gas Drilling Begins

Some Juniata Township residents (located near Altoona, in central Pennsylvania) with properties close to Marcellus Shale drilling sites have had their water tested as a precautionary measure. Their aim is to have evidence in case their water supplies become contaminated due to drilling activity. While MDN would point out that no known instances of chemical contamination of drinking water supplies from Marcellus Shale drilling exist, we applaud anyone who wants to ensure the drilling industry lives up to its stated high standards. The residents of Juniata Township offer this sage advice if you do get testing done:

No property owner should collect his or her own water sample and take it for testing, [township resident Mike] Chirdon said. Township solicitor Michael Routch agreed and said that such action breaks “the chain of custody” that is needed to hold up in court.

A person could be accused of bringing in water from anywhere, [Township Secretary Ron] Neff said.*

Note: MDN has heard of drilling companies who will pay for local well water testing for properties up to 2,000 feet away from a drilling site. If drilling is happening near your property, check with the drilling company to see if they are willing to fund a water test.

*Altoona Mirror (Mar 13, 2011) – Water tested near natural gas drilling sites