Sulfur or Gas in Your Water?
A $12 Million Controversial Water System has Divided Residents
But is it Necessary?
I recently read a letter to the editor from a homeowner who lives on Meshoppen Creek Road in Dimock, PA. Right dead center in the middle of the controversial gas drilling that had a major gas spill. She states she has lived there for 15 years and acknowledges that she likely has increased levels of methane in her well as a result of the natural gas drilling in the vicinity of her home. In fact, her average methane level is one of the highest in the affected area in Dimock.
This woman has a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering Technology with several years of experience including Environmental Consulting and extensive ground-water impact studies, plus many years in petroleum construction and design, specializing in residential well water. When she moved into her home she noticed that there was supersaturated gas in her well water. When pouring a glass of water, the water would be slightly cloudy, and then the bubbles would rush to the surface, dissipate, and the glass of water would be perfectly clear.
Her water test at the time of the purchase of their home revealed moderately hard water and iron levels. And she knew that these bubbles were from carbon dioxide or methane, and that high mineral and gas contents in water can lead to sulfur water through microbial breakdown of the gas and minerals.
So if you have sulfur water, there’s a good chance that you have a significant levels of methane in your water. Fortunately, there is no scientific evidence out there that the methane is harmful. There is no Primary drinking water standard for methane. Primary drinking water standards are set for constituents that present health hazards.
Methane in water is not known to be harmful to human health and there is no Primary or Secondary Drinking Water Standard set for methane.
When neighbors tried to “recruit” her for the lawsuit against a gas company giant, Cabot, they dragged in additional complaints of now having e-coli in their water from Cabot.
E-coli is a bacteria that is only found in the intestines of mammals. When found in well water, the presence suggests that you or a neighbor have a poorly constructed septic system that is contaminating the water. E-coli has nothing to do with the drilling process.
Another complaint from a Dimmock resident is the presence of brown water. Brown water is a result of soluble iron coming out of solution and making the water look brown. Although it makes your clothes look dingy after washing them, iron is good for you and not hazardous to drink (it’s in your vitamins).
Cabot is in the process of designing and installing on-site water treatment systems as needed. The systems consist of one or two methane aerators (depending on methane concentration), and ozonator, and pre- and post-treatment filters. The systems have proven to reduce methane levels to less than 5 pm, reduce concentrations of total metals and disinfect the water.
Upon installation of the system, her water quality should be better than it has ever been since she moved in. When she reviewed the data and performed a cost benefit analysis, she concluded that no engineer would ever recommend the absurd $12 million project for 18 homes. The on-site systems that Cabot proposes to install will solve the problems that have resulted from drilling. The systems exceed what would normally be required to treat the water. At a fraction of the cost that is being proposed by the 18 residents and their lawyers demanding a $12 million public water system that will end up on taxpayers shoulders.
Kellie M. Place “The Land Expert”
“Upstate New York’s Real Estate Development Expert”