Another article has popped up in which an official from an environmental agency has stated that a need exists for testing bodies of water in and around areas where drilling for natural gas will take place. It seems as though the closer the date gets when drilling will begin, the more people become concerned and say, “Hey… We really need to think about our water supply. We have NO idea what this amount of drilling might do to it.”
Jun. 7 — Surface water and water wells near pending natural gas drilling operations should be tested before any drilling starts, Scott Fickbohm, manager of Otsego County’s Soil & Water District, said.
“We need baseline tests if we’re going to be able to show that any changes have occurred,” Fickbohm said Friday.
In his agency, he and one other staff member could work part-time at monitoring surface water in the county, he said. The Soil & Water District does not have the means to test thousands of water wells, “but I’m working on a database to try to let people know where they can get their water tested, and how much it will cost,” he said.
Costs will depend on how comprehensive the tests are. “I’ve heard everything from hundreds to thousands of dollars,” he said.
The state may mandate that drilling firms pay for baseline testing of water wells within a certain distance of a drilling operation, he noted.
Although the state’s rules have yet to be issued, Soil & Water is preparing for its upcoming duties because it cannot wait, Fickbohm said.
“We’re taking our lead from the SRBC,” he said.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is monitoring the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania for conductivity and Ph values because when these values change they may indicate the river is being polluted, he said.
“Conductivity is the presence of ions in the water, and that’s likely to pick up any change in salinity,” he said.
In their quest for shale gas, companies are drilling thousands of feet down into a zone where there are pockets of saline water, Fickbohm said. A change in the river’s saline levels might mean that brackish water from the depths has reached the river, the largest source of fresh water in the Chesapeake Bay. ( source )
Testing for Conductivity
Conductivity testing typically gets done with the use of a conductivity meter. You will find examples of several popular conductivity meters below.
While this article mentioned conductivity as a means of testing for changes in surface water’s salinity, other testing methods such as TDS meters, salt (chloride) meters and/or chloride test strips may work as well, but their effectiveness, we believe, may get limited by their detection ranges.