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Groundwater Quality Private Wells Wayne County Pennsylvania Baseline Water Testing Education Program


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Educational outreach to 2 lake communities in Wayne County Pennsylvania. The results of private well water testing and using these findings to develop a customized baseline water testing program for the Poconos Community, private well owners in the region, community water sources, public water supplies, and watershed monitoring organizations.

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Groundwater Quality Private Wells Wayne County Pennsylvania Baseline Water Testing Education Program

  1. 1. Getting The Waters Tested The Marcellus Shale Factor Old Issues New IssuesEnvironment Water Resources My Approach – Working as a Community Wayne County PA
  2. 2. Mr. Brian Oram, Professional Geologist (PG), ProfessionalMr. Brian Oram, Professional Geologist (PG), Professional Soil Scientist (PA and WV), Licensed Well Driller (PA)Soil Scientist (PA and WV), Licensed Well Driller (PA) B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. Water Research Center Carbon County Groundwater Guardians Presented by
  3. 3. Water-Research Center Education and Outreach Program funded byEducation and Outreach Program funded by B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. Outreach ProgramsOutreach Programs  Environmental and Professional Education and Training for Citizens and LocalEnvironmental and Professional Education and Training for Citizens and Local MunicipalitiesMunicipalities  Water Quality Help Guides – Information LibraryWater Quality Help Guides – Information Library  Community and Business Outreach ProgramsCommunity and Business Outreach Programs  Low Cost – Informational Water Testing Program with National LaboratoryLow Cost – Informational Water Testing Program with National Laboratory  Citizen Monitoring Programs- Developing Low Cost Water Quality SensorsCitizen Monitoring Programs- Developing Low Cost Water Quality Sensors  Targets Young Adults, Watershed Organizations, Coalition, Environmental Groups,Targets Young Adults, Watershed Organizations, Coalition, Environmental Groups, Professionals, and KidsProfessionals, and Kids
  4. 4. Carbon County Groundwater Guardians The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians (CCGG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer, environmental education organization which provides homeowners with information on private wells, water quality and quantity, and septic systems Not an Advocacy Group 1. Education 2. Fact Based Approach 3. Scientific Method 4. Target Education of Kids and Families 5. Delivery Statewide Please Support –
  5. 5. B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.  Professional Consulting Services in the areas of water quality, soils, stormwater, geology, aquifer analysis, and land- development.  Baseline – Chain-of-Custody- Sourcewater Protection  Expert Testimony  Online Training in Alternative Energy  Professional and Educator Training  Water Treatment Process/ Product Development 
  6. 6. Current Programs  Free Assistance in Reviewing Baseline Data for Private Well Owners  Free Website with Information on Water Quality Problems with Case Studies  Educational Materials and Educational Presentations  Training Program for Baseline Samplers  Go to
  7. 7. LAKE ASSOC.
  8. 8. Lake Assoc
  9. 9. All Permits Lake Assoc
  10. 10. Permits – 1/2011 to 11/2011 Lake Assoc
  11. 11. Operating Wells Lake Assoc
  12. 12. Marcellus Shale This is Causing all the Concern?
  13. 13. 385 Million Years Ago Source:
  14. 14. Barkley, 2009 Looking Back 400 million Years
  15. 15. Marcellus Shale or Other tight Black Shales
  16. 16. Appalachian Plateau Province  Broad to NarrowBroad to Narrow ValleysValleys  Rounded Hills andRounded Hills and Valleys AssociatedValleys Associated with Glaciationwith Glaciation  Valleys filled byValleys filled by glacial fluvialglacial fluvial materialmaterial Younger (Y) Older Y O OY (O) Unconsolidated Material (Un) Un Un
  17. 17. Geological Sequence – Northeast PA 0 to 1.8 million years Time Quaternary – Glaciation Period Deposit or Rock Type sand, silt, clay, and gravel 1.8 to 290 million Tertiary to Permian Not present (eroded and weathered) 290 – 320 million Pennsylvanian 320 – 354 million Mississippian 354 - 417 million Devonian 417 – 443 million Silurian Catskill Formation Trimmers Rock Formation Mahantango Formation Marcellus Formation (Black Shale)- Target Onondaga Formation (calcareous sandy shale) O L D E R Not present (eroded and weathered) Not present (eroded and weathered)
  18. 18. 250 feet Thick
  19. 19. < 2000 feet Probably No Gas
  20. 20. 12,000 feet
  21. 21. Thickness 350 feet
  22. 22. Baseline Groundwater and Surfacewater Monitoring Related to Natural Gas Development in Northeastern Site Development Production Processing Hydraulic Fracturing Job
  23. 23. Baseline Testing Should Include ALL Likely Impacts Your Well
  24. 24. Complaints Fuel Storage Locations Chemical Treatment Water Allocation Or Discharge Image from Emapper Showing Location of Known Hazards
  25. 25. Getting The Waters Tested Types of Water Testing Citizen Science And Remote MonitoringBaseline Testing – Just the Facts Step 1-Third-Party Sampler and Certified Testing Screening Tests or Self-Monitoring Step 2- Screening Step 3 Follow-up Certified Testing Step 3 Follow-up Certified Testing
  26. 26. Shallow Releases How Contaminants Can Get In to the Aquifer (Surface) Ungrouted Well Pit Sanitary Well Surface Spills Fractured Rock Leaky Tanks
  27. 27. How Contaminants Can Up into a Shallow Aquifer
  28. 28. PSU Study -Migration and Disturbance During Drilling- losing circulation Proper Construction Poor Construction Key Points 1. Proper Casing and Cement of Marcellus Shale Wells 2. Knowing How Private Wells Are Constructed 3. Isolation Distances will not Solve This Problem. 4. Fixing Private Wells has to be part of the Solution. 5. This may account for the data on bromide from PSU. 6. The issue may not be well radial distance, but construction and drilling issue. 7. Recommend closed loop drilling with water within freshwater aquifer (no muds) or water-based muds. upto2000ft Lined Pit Could this explain the Bromide Issue or Discolored Water?? Tanks Add String
  29. 29. Movement and Migration along Bedding Planes, Joints, and Fractures 80 feet from Ground surface Movement of Soils and Sediment Along Bedding, Joints, and Fractures Open Fractures Tend to Decrease with Depth
  30. 30. Migration Concepts- Multiple Casements and Recreate Confining Layers- Need Good Cement Bonds- Cement up to Deepest Casement or Surface Older Younger Water Table Private Well
  31. 31. This is Drinking Water in PA? Iron / Manganese Bacteria Sediment / Gases Corrosion 50% Other 50% How do we know this?
  32. 32. Video Methane Migration This can also be caused by a Bacteria . Abandon Oil / Gas Well Western PA
  33. 33. PADEP determined cause is related to Natural Gas PADEP determined cause is NOT related to Natural Gas Blue Dots - PADEP still evaluating
  34. 34. Common Problems Associated with Natural Gas Development and Private Wells  Dirty and Discolored Water – associated with the initial drilling of the well. Water has metallic taste.  Increased Levels of iron, manganese, and aluminum and some other metals.  Increased Levels of Dissolved Gases – Primarily Methane, but also ethane, propane, and radon. Please Note – These Photos May Also Represent Baseline Conditions
  35. 35. Baseline Testing- It is Not Just About Collecting a Water Sample (published ONG Marketplace – 3/2013) Link to Article at
  36. 36. What is Certified Baseline Testing?  Certified Baseline Testing is a process to establish the current condition of a system prior to some proposed change or action.  This is the Greatest Level of Protection !  Persons or Agents Directly Involved with this Process  Licensed Professional and Third-Party Sampler  Private Well or Water Source Owner – “Witness the Process Only”  Certified Testing Laboratory
  37. 37. Are Private Well Owners Required to Conduct Baseline Testing ?  To our knowledge, there is no requirement by a state or agency for the private owner to conduct baseline testing.  Then why it is recommended?  You May Not be within the area the Permittee tests.  You may be concerned about an adjoining lease.  You May Not believe “Their” results.  You May Want to Test for More Parameters.  You want to have sufficient evidence if a problems does occur.  The Company or “They” may not do any sampling and then there is no data.
  38. 38. PA Oil and Gas Law  Certified mail notification during permit phase if water supply is within 3,000 feet of gas well.  At least 200 feet from a private well, 100 feet stream, wetland, or waterbody, and 1000 feet a public water supply.  Baseline Testing is Recommended Not Required, but they are presumed liable. Liability Provision – Within 2500 feet of a wellhead and within 1 year of completion or modification. Post-Drilling Testing is Not Required or Recommended.  PADEP may require Gas Companies to Respond to Complaints  Reportable Releases Brine - > 10,000 mg/L or 1 % contamination (5 gallons)  Reportable Releases Brine - < 10,000 mg/L or < 1% (15 gallons).  Law Requires an Immediate Investigation when Methane Levels are > 7 mg/L. 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”.
  39. 39. Do Not End Up Here ! Do Not Put the Burden of Proof on Yourself ! Water Issues 1. Lake House that is not regularly used and in most cases the homeowners did not drink the water. 2. No baseline testing other than some historic testing for coliform bacteria and nitrate. 3. The water appeared to change and get a salty taste and there was some gas bubbles. 4. Well - no drilling log- located in a river valley near a lake - over 400 feet deep. 5. Methane Determined to be 15 mg/L with elevated Chloride, Hardness, and Barium If Baseline Testing Was Done We Would Have Proof of the Impact Now - This will have to be settled in Court Burden of Proof May be on the Well Owner ! Which Is the Before Sample?
  40. 40. Recent Work at Lake - 5 Wells Sampled Summary 1. Two wells in Pits – where minor improvements are advisable. 2. One well was missing a plug. 3. Three out of 5 wells had treated water – Water that was prefilterd or water softener. 4. 1 Well had an elevated level of iron. 5. Methane gas was not detected and LEL was 0 % Samples Tested for pH, Conductivity, ORP, Total Dissolved Solids, Bacteria, Alkalinity, Chloride, Sulfate, Sodium, Iron, Manganese, T. Hardness, Potassium, Strontium, Barium, Bromide, Oil and Grease, Chloride, Arsenic, Aluminum, MBAS, Methane, Ethane, and Propane
  41. 41. Parameter Occurrence (%) Highest, mg/L Standard,mg/L Barium 20 0.12 2 Strontium 100 0.46 None Sodium 100 26 None Alkalinity 100 150 None T. Hardness 100 136 None Sulfate 100 92 250 Potassium 100 1.2 None Iron 80 0.37 < 0.3 Manganese 20 0.05 0.05 T. Dissolved Solids 100 229 < 500 Lake Sulfur Odor – 20%
  42. 42. Value Lowest Highest % Exceed pH 5.1 7.3 50 Chloride < 5 24 0 Sulfate < 5 19 0 Arsenic < 0.005 0.006 0 Barium < 0.3 0.66 0 Iron < 0.2 1.58 7 Lead < 0.002 0.009 11 Manganese < 0.004 0.859 21 Sodium < 1 73 0 Strontium 0.001 1.2 0 Bacteria < 1 Present 11 Another Lake Community in Wayne County to the East (28 wells)
  43. 43. Suggested Baseline- For Citizens  Permit the Oil and Gas Company to Collect a Predrill or Prealteration Sample. DO NOT Lose the Assumption of Responsibility Provision.  Testing Package # 1 Recommendations – Document Lower Explosion Limit (LEL) and Static and Dynamic Water Level Total Coliform with e. coli confirmation, Chloride, Sodium, Barium, pH, Total Dissolved Solids, MBAS, Conductivity, Iron, Manganese, ORP, T. Hardness, Alkalinity, and Methane/Ethane/Propane.  Testing Package # 2 Recommendations -Package # 1- plus Bromide, Strontium,, Nitrate, Total Suspended Solids, Turbidity, and Sulfate.  Testing Package # 3- Package #1 and # 2 - plus Arsenic, Aluminum, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Nickel, Zinc, Oil and Grease, 21- VOCs/MTBE, Potassium, Selenium, Sulfide, Nickel, Gross Alpha/Beta Activity, Lithium, Lead, and Uranium. It may be advisable to add Glycols, Radon in water, and other organic and inorganic parameters. Depending on surrounding land-use, use of geothermal wells, personal history, local geology, and past history for the area.
  44. 44. Remember - Methane Gas Level – Change over Time- Time with Highest Levels  barometric pressure is low and soils are saturated;  when snow cover is just beginning to melt;  the ground is frozen or ice covered; or  under long-term pumping conditions for the well when the well is experiencing the lowest dynamic water level and greatest drawdown.
  45. 45. 1 ft1 ft 250 ft 50 ft 200 ft Specific Capacity = Gpm/ft of drawdown gpm = 5 gpm Static Water Level – 50 feet Dynamic Level – 200 feet Sc = (5 gpm/ (150 ft))= Sc = 0.03 gpm/ft drawdown Estimating Specific Capacity Methane Levels and Pumping Less head pressure more methane will be released. Methane Static Water Level Pump Off Dynamic Water Level Pump On 5 gpm Air Vent Measure LEL
  46. 46. Working as a Community  Getting the Community Educated  Encouraging Well Owners to Get their water tested as best as they can afford and sharing this data (data only) with the Citizen Database.  Working with Local Water Authorities- Watershed Groups Using Source Water Protection As a Guide  Developing a Program to Fix Private Wells – where baseline pre-drilling testing has identified a Problem – Remember we all live upstream.  Permitting the gas company to conduct baseline testing and share this data (data only) as part of Community Meetings or Education Sessions – Citizens Database in PA.  This should include wells, springs, surface ponds, and major waterways in the area.
  47. 47. Tracking Change  Frac Focus – Chemical Registry - (Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act – requires Submission of chemical data to Office of Oil and Gas with the WR-35 Reports on specific forms or a Frac Focus Format)  The Citizens Database for PA – http://www.water-  Get Educated – Free Information on Water Quality and Oil / Natural Gas Development–    Check Out Frac Tracker – YOUR Story Matters 
  48. 48. Certificate of Completion Training Event Getting The Waters Tested; The Black Shale Factor Pennsylvania Approach 2 – hour PDHs or 0.2 CEUS Presented by Mr. Brian Oram, PG B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc 15 Hillcrest Drive Dallas, PA 18612 More Online Training @ Licensed Professionals - Official Certificate with Name and Date is Available for $ 15.00- just email
  49. 49. DO Not Forget the Citizens Database in Pennsylvania  Quote about the Program – “this program has been a ROCK to us... thank you, as always, thank you thank you!” (Dimock, PA)  Free Evaluation of the Certified Testing Results by a Professional  Working as a Community to Track Change  Insights into Existing Problems to Properly Document Baseline Conditions  Great Free Program 
  50. 50. Our Latest Educational Resource Description of the following: a. Citizen Database b. Baseline Testing c. Drinking Water Standards d. Specific Water Quality Standards e. Treatment Options f. How to Shock Disinfect a Well g. How to Properly Construct a Well h. General Guidelines on Baseline Testing Parameters. And More. cost$ 5.00 Other Resources at Supports a Local 501C3 –
  51. 51. Document  © 2013 by B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.  For permission – Contact Mr. Brian Oram, PG   570- 335-1947 http://www.water-research.net
  52. 52. Presented by: Mr. Brian Oram, Professional Geologist (PG),Mr. Brian Oram, Professional Geologist (PG), Soil Scientist, Licensed Well DrillerSoil Scientist, Licensed Well Driller http://www.water-research.net
  53. 53. Pennsylvania Current Model  Baseline Testing is a Recommended Practice and Not a Required Practice.  Oil and Gas Companies are Assumed Responsible if a problem occurs within 1 year of completing or modifying a well within a radial distance of 2500 feet- there are no provisions related to other infrastructure like pipelines, compression stations, storage ponds, or treatment areas.  For Water Withdrawal Wells and other wells for Gas/Oil Operations – all surface owners or water purveyor within 3000 feet must be contacted.  Flow and Quality Tested- Predrilling Testing Required- if YOU request  The Oil and Gas Company is assumed responsible for events occurring within 2500 feet of the wellhead and 1 year.  You can lose this protection if you do not permit the Oil and Gas Company to conduct predrilling baseline testing.  To our knowledge, there is no requirement for post-drilling testing unless it is part of a compliant.  If you are outside 2500 foot radius, you may need to contact the oil/gas company or conduct this testing on your own. If the Oil and Gas Company – Will Not Conduct Testing for YOU and they are Drilling within about 0.5 to 1 mile of you and driving on the roads near Your Home Get Some Level of Baseline Testing Done NOW.