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Professional water well testing in the midst of permian red bed gas fields?

 
pollinator
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Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
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I've got friends driving by the farm in 2 or 3 days and thought I would have them get water samples from the well and send them for testing - otherwise, it's 24-hours of driving for me- so I'm hoping for quick answers here.  The well has been in use for decades for watering cattle and horses. It's a windmill and the water falls from a pipe into an open tank in the corral area. The tank often runs over and there is a shallow "ditch" that leads the water into a reed bed 20' downhill of the tank. The water is not from an aquifer, but from deep groundwater (150-250 feet deep, can't remember). The nearest gas field and oilfield disposal injection wells and open ponds are two miles away. The lessee's cowboys repair the well when needed and for sure don't worry about contaminating it. There are eleven gas well pads within 1/2 mile of the windmill well. I believe they frack gas wells here, but no new wells nearby (that I know of) in the last few years. A neighbor 1/2 mile away grows conventional cotton with all the attendant chemicals. The farm and environs are criss-crossed with gas pipelines. Ranching cattle and horses is what all the rest of the land near me is used for.

I have read some of the links from the "Wiki PEP BB plumbing.sand.tiny.waterquality - Perform a Water Quality Test " PEP Badge page. This website National Groundwater Association asks "Is your well water system clean?". Here is what they say:
"It is wise as part of a regular water well inspection—or in addressing perceived problems with water from a well—to determine whether the well system itself is clean. A dirty well can create an environment for contaminants such as certain types of bacteria. Likewise, tests from a dirty well can lead to false positives—the appearance of contamination when the groundwater flowing to the well is clean.
A common misperception by homeowners is that chlorine alone will clean a well—the more chlorine, the better. However, chlorine can serve as an effective disinfectant only if the well is sufficiently clean and free of debris.
Indicators of a dirty well include cloudy water, low water flow, or taste or odor problems. If these problems persist, or positive bacteria results are reported from well testing, then NGWA recommends that a qualified water well system contractor should inspect the well. The contractor would also determine whether the well should be cleaned.
A qualified water well system contractor can determine if your water well system needs cleaning by conducting an anaerobic bacteria test, a coliform test, or other tests that can indicate an accumulation of debris in the well. Anaerobic bacteria can be an indicator of overall bacterial activity in the well—including possible harmful bacteria. A qualified water well system contractor can take a water sample to determine if the amount of anaerobic activity in your well is significant. While most coliform bacteria are not harmful, they serve as indicators of possible harmful bacteria. The contractor also will inspect the general condition of the well in determining whether to clean the well."


I have had a simple water test done for minerals, but not bacteria or pesticides, herbicides, or gas field ick. I tasted the water out of the pipe in March and it tasted ok, and I don't recall  being sick after, but I just took a sip.

Questions:
1. Since the water tastes ok, does that mean the well probably doesn't need to be cleaned? The water coming out of the pipe looks clean. I don't want to pay big bucks for testing a well that should be cleaned first. The animal watering tank is full of algae, the cowboys don't clean it cause they said it leaks if you clean it.

2. I am willing to spend $$ for professional testing so that I know if I can plunk an RV here and hook up to the well for all my water needs. I am of a delicate disposition when it comes to chemicals in food, shampoo, soap, body oils, make-up, chlorine, etc. so... what tests do I need given the surrounding land uses?

3. What professional water testing labs have you used and been satisfied with?

4. Perhaps this discussion will also include water filter systems, but it seems like that will be after the testing so I know what needs to be filtered out.

Thank you!





Filename: Simple-Water-Test-Results-OK.pdf
File size: 53 Kbytes
 
garden master
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denise ra wrote:
3. What professional water testing labs have you used and been satisfied with?



I had a well drilled last year and had testing done by National Testing Laboratories. I shared my test results in my well thread here: https://permies.com/t/76472/Sand-ground-water-casing#751827

It costs a couple hundred bucks for this test, and I have some base line to compare future tests to. I live in a farming community, and I had all sorts of ideas in my head about how bad this water could be, and it turned out not that way. I was really surprised to see nitrate and nitrite come back as not detectable, in an area where the soil is being corned and soy'ed to death. The two chemicals that showed up in the test I suspect are from either the pipe thread sealant or the pvc cement the well drillers used. I wasn't familiar with one of them and I learned that they are used to make pvc cement.
 
denise ra
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James, Did you need to use their collection bottles, or could you use your own?
 
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My state has a contamination water test. It is expensive at $315, but tells you everything that is in the water, and is just what you are looking for information. Where I am from, they are concerned about gas station tanks leaking and that sort of thing.

I use the test for something different. I take mineral samples, then put the mineral samples in distilled water, and have the water tested after it soaks for a few months. From that I can tell what my soil samples have in them for minable minerals. It is the only test that gives me almost all the heavy minerals in a single test.

But just because you have a lot of oil wells in an area does not mean you have contaminated water. Gas and oil wells are pretty darn deep, so your water is actually sitting above where they are tapping into the oil and gas. But I do not blame you for getting it tested.

In my state you pay for the collection bottle they send you, that way they are paid prior to the test, and you get an uncontaminated bottle so that it does not throw off the test.
 
James Freyr
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denise ra wrote:James, Did you need to use their collection bottles, or could you use your own?



I had to use theirs. When I bought mine, the type of test is purchased up front, and they send a package with an insulated box, five or six sample collection vessels, and one of those blue frozen ice pack things. There are some explicit instructions to follow, and it gets sent back overnight shipping.
 
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