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The Importance of Baseline Water Sampling

Baseline water sampling is one of the most important actions taken during oil and gas exploration. Given that oil and gas exploration and production can have severe environmental impacts, ensuring that the communities in which businesses are operating remain safe is a top priority. Conducting baseline water sampling helps determine if any water quality issues are present in the area before drilling activities.

What is a baseline water test?

In short, baseline water sampling tests measure and record water quality under current conditions. Typically, analysts sample available groundwater sources for “signature chemicals,” a set of 21 chemicals that are traditionally low in concentration in fresh groundwater but high in oil and gas associated fluids. If tests after drilling show increases in signature chemical levels, there is evidence that drilling activities have resulted in site contamination. Contamination can occur from catastrophic industrial accidents, resulting in immediate high volume contamination or gradual contamination depending on the event. Even surface spills can have significant effects on groundwater quality. In instances where baseline tests indicate significant contamination, performing more extensive tests to identify as many chemicals as possible is valuable—the more comprehensive the chemical findings, the greater the possibility of minimizing the water damage and identifying the source(s) of the contamination.

NTG Environmental provides baseline water sampling services to help our clients document water supply quality before commencing drilling activities. We also maintain the results in a client-specific database, complete with maps, to record wells sampled to minimize future planning and identify regional groundwater quality parameters. As a result, we can track changes in water quality over time and mitigate potential environmental impacts. Contact us today if you are interested in working alongside us to reduce operational risks.

Consequences of inadequate baseline water testing

The consequences of inadequate water sampling may be  significant for both businesses, households,  and livestock. Contaminated water sources can result in unsafe drinking water for humans and livestock, leading to short and long-term health conditions like gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders

About NTG Environmental

NTG Environmental specializes in providing the energy industry with environmental solutions and sustainability consulting. NTG Environmental has partnered with energy companies to manage assets, reduce liabilities, and minimize costs over an asset’s life cycle for nearly three decades. We offer a fully integrated suite of environmental, regulatory, and ESG consulting services to help our clients operate as effectively as possible.