The Marcellus Shale Coalition on Tuesday released a document that provides recommended practices for surveying water supplies near potential oil and gas drilling areas.
Rules in Pennsylvania require that natural gas producers sample and test all water supplies within 2,500 ft. of a proposed gas well in the Marcellus Shale.
However, nearly 40% of the state’s water wells do not meet the minimum safe drinking water standard and another 20% of water wells contain pre-existing methane, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The required tests provide a baseline analysis of water chemistry before site preparation and development.
It is the third in a series of recommended practices from the coalition. Recommendations are:
- Predrill surveys should be conducted on all identified water supplies in a given area of the well pad surface.
- Water supply sources such as wells, springs, and ponds should be evaluated before moving dirt for site construction or before well spudding. Consideration should also be given to sampling water supply sources that are not currently in use.
- Locate water supplies with the assistance of the owner and use global positioning services to determine and record the location of each source.
- Samples shall be collected in accordance with all appropriate and defensible procedures.
- Water samples shall be analyzed by Philadelphia’s Scientific and Regulatory Affairs (SRA)-certified laboratory using US Environmental Protection Agency methods or drinking water methods.
- The laboratory should be instructed to provide a laboratory reporting limit no greater than the published maximum contaminant level.
- Operators should inform water supply owners and residents that all information collected will be provided to parties of interest and regulators, therefore, it could be disclosed as public information upon inquiry to the SRA.