How Does Marcellus Shale Drilling Affect Your Water?

The natural gas drilling boom is gaining momentum around the country. Ohio, particularly the eastern portion, is home to considerable amounts of Marcellus and Utica Shale. Natural gas, which is trapped in shale formations thousands of feet below ground, is extracted through a two-part process of horizontal drilling and hydrofracking (or hydraulic fracturing). Fracturing the shale can take as much as four million gallons of fresh water. The water is mixed with sand and chemicals and then pumped into the ground at high pressure. Once drilling is finished, some of the water returns to the surface laced with salts and dissolved solids. This flowback water is treated by an approved sewage treatment plant, recycled for additional drilling, or sent to a deep-injection well.     

Even though Ohio has undergone oil and gas drilling for many years, the possibility of contaminating our drinking water still exists. The best way to ensure that drinking water has not been contaminated is to have samples analyzed by a certified laboratory.

Alloway is approved to test a number of parameters that relate to drinking water contamination from oil and gas drilling. We offer three analytical packages:

Basic: Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Arsenic, pH, Conductivity, Sodium, Strontium, Chloride, Barium, Methane/Ethane = $235

Moderate: Basic package analytes plus Alkalinity, Acidity, Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Hardness, Oil and Grease, Nitrate/Nitrite, Anionic Surfactants (MBAS), Turbidity, Sulfate, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Suspended Solids, Fluoride, Bromide, Total Coliform Bacteria = $595

Complete: Moderate package analytes plus Antimony, Beryllium, Copper, Nickel, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) = $785

Alloway encourages testing before and after drilling, so as to establish a basis for comparison. We strongly recommend that a professional perform the sampling. The sampling must be performed correctly and all documents must be carefully completed; otherwise the samples and subsequent results may be deemed invalid. Alloway is available to perform the sampling.

To learn more, or to schedule a sampling event, please call 800-873-2835.

Here are some additional resources about natural gas drilling: