Has anyone paid a lab to sample and test their water before drilling?

If you are outside a defined radius of the drill bore, several companies will not test your water prior to drilling.   I would appreciate any information on labs you used; who, what testing level (1, 2 or 3), how much did it cost, how responsive were they to your questions, your overall impressions?   That kind of thing.   Thanks.

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Yes, chain of custody is important in case of future litigation, so no mail-ins for me.  Alloway will sample in person for an extra $150 (I called them directly from a phone number given on EPA's list of certified Ohio labs).   Belmont lab is mail-in only.   Summit will come to your house.  I'm waiting on Coshocton's price, but they told me they would take the sample in person.

I believe a company in Erie will do it for around 400

Certainly want chain of custody established.  To try  getting a better deal get some neighbors to all have the testing done the same day/same company.  Negotiate a better rate since the company can do all in one day/one trip.

Yep.  So far, two/five labs offered 10% and 15% discount for 3 or more samples.   If I can only get the neighbors to see the value.....

Quotes received for EPA Tier 3 testing:

Alloway;            $426 sample collection included

Summitt            $450 sample collection included

Belmont            $497 No sample collection included, but will send bottles, etc...

Brookside         $525 for #3(?) no sample collection included, will send bottles

Coshocton        $475 sample collection included

We tested  three sources so far on our own. CHK's assigns sent us a letter to come onto one of the properties two years ago to test  ("for free")- as it's close to a proposed pad (or was then)...we didn't want them on that parcel as it has only springs and creeks, no human inhabitation and we simply don't trust them to ever "reimburse us" for damages to non-human utilized water ...like the deer can just suck the dew off the leaves....and the foliage and fauna don't count.  Anybody ever see a lease in which ALL LIFE FORMS' right to exist with clean water is protected, or even acknowledged? This land belongs as much to them! We want to lease to someone who gets that! (Are we dreaming?)

only having 1 test done is not enough.  Although the DEP recommends 1 test prior to drilling, in actuality you need a minimum of 4, 1 every 3 months prior to drilling to establish a full year's baseline.  Only having 1 test done leaves the door open for DEP and a drilling company to say it's just a 'snapshot' and doesn't prove anything.

even if a driller offers to test your water, you should have your own independent ones done as back-up - the reason is if the driller tests your water, they own the water test and can selectively determine what they will reveal to you.  Best to cover your butt.

depending on where you live, do your research for water testers, what labs they use and check out those labs.  One lab used by Range recently lost their certification.   For best "covering your butt", get the level 3, cost may be $700-$1,000 per test.   And you should continue testing every 3 months for as long as you own the property to protect your health.  Most water contamination is due to faulty well casings, plus all well casings do fail over time. 

According to Act 13, a driller is only liable for 1 year following the plugging of a well, plus the more gas wells around you the greater the chances of water contamination over time.

"According to Act 13, a driller is only liable for 1 year following the plugging of a well, plus the more gas wells around you the greater the chances of water contamination over time."

Right you are Francine - we are already seeing companies pointing fingers at each other, saying it was "that other driller over the hill - not us that contaminated your water, soil, air..."

It's hard to spend that kind of money on tests when we aren't even in a unit, aren't leased, may never be at this rate!  That's food and fuel and medical money we're spending on "tests!" Wish we all lived as if we knew "WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM !" And what ever happened to The Golden Rule...and being our Brother's Keeper - at least to the extent of making sure our own leases also protect those who live around us who may not be eligible to lease! BE the neighbor you wish you had for one!


Excellent information and advice.  I really appreciate it.   I plan on having my water tested by an independent lab ASAP, as we may be included in a unit soon.    I like the idea of testing every 3 months.  We only have one chance to do this correctly, and we feel it is worth every penny....however, if the casing leaks, and problems develop with the water....well, there is NO way anyone is ever going to be able to repair it.  We may have some recourse because we tested our water and can prove something, but it's never going to be the same and they can't fix it.   It's a risk.  We think a small risk, but a risk all the same. 

Hopefully, problems encountered in PA during the early Marcellus days are well known now, and the current drillers have taken heed and beefed up their casing regime/surface technology/whatever.... to cut the risk of leakage.   My cynical side thinks that the oil companies are more worried about negative publicity than damage to the environment, but whatever the motive, the results should be the same.

Thanks Francine for helping in this thread. You really hit the nail on the head. That's a lot of money though for water testing. Wowsa!

Al raptoria-- wildlife is of no concern to OGCs.... Or even pets for that matter. But livestock is, only because of the financial implications. We have a spring that our pets drink out of all the time (and deer and other wildlife). CHK wouldn't test it for pets but would for "livestock".

Good info to have, thanks everyone. I have a question out of curiosity. What about rural/outlying areas that have or will be getting 'city' water that comes from a source where there is drilling activity nearby. Any home/land owners here that are concerned and test municipal water being supplied to them?


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