Written by Herald-News
McCone Conservation District recently announced a new ground water sampling program. Rural water users have voiced concerns about the potential effects on their water supply from oil development. People are worried about chemical storage, waste management accidents at well heads or injection pits, and accidents/spills during chemical and product transportation.
Further uncertainties of production water disposal, frack water injections and large withdrawals of ground water have also been revealed.
The purpose of this new monitoring program is to establish baseline groundwater quality and availability in advance of oil and gas activity in our area. McCone Conservation District will prioritize and select domestic and stock-water wells to evaluate based on the proximity to a potential source of contamination such as active or abandoned oil/gas wells, injection wells, waste or chemical management areas. Selected wells must be registered with the Ground Water Information Center
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Montana Salinity Control Association are assisting the McCone Conservation District with this program. Each well selected will be evaluated on-site for field parameters and water availability. Well samples will be analyzed for drinking water quality and for indicators of contamination specific to energy development activities.
Well sampling and lab fees total approximately $1,200 per well, but a DNRC grant covers most of the expense so McCone County residents can participate in this program for $120.00 [10 recent of total cost].