Monday, January 10, 2011

Mora County group's water study provides first line of defense against 'fracking'

Staci Matlock | The New Mexican

"A group of residents opposed to drilling for natural gas in Mora County has completed a baseline water quality study of area domestic wells.

The data collected will allow them to track contamination from fluids used in natural gas drilling and production.

Kathleen Dudley, one of the founders of Drilling Mora County, said she thought Mora was the first county to complete baseline well testing. "We now have a defensible set of documents so that, if the industry was ever allowed to drill in the Las Vegas basin in Mora County, they would have to defend against their chemicals showing up in our water, because our water is testing clean from all hydraulic fracturing fluids."

The protocol for establishing baseline water quality in wells is now available from Drilling Mora County to any well owner or community water system in New Mexico.

The battery of tests used to analyze the water samples can be obtained from Hall Environmental Analysis Laboratory in Albuquerque. Called DMC-100, the analysis tests for methane gas, metals such as arsenic and organic chemicals associated with a natural-gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Andy Freeman, lab manager of Hall Environmental, said the cost of running the analysis ranges from $500 to $800 a sample.

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