Water Testing Requested in Preston County

Residents concerned about Marcellus Shale drilling effects

Morgantown Dominion Post
17 May 2011
By Michelle Wolford

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Health Department has taken about 16 calls in the past month or so from people asking for water testing before Marcellus shale drilling starts.

Denise Knoebel, administrator for the department, told the County Commissioners on Monday that her office doesn’t do water testing. She said the office has received about four calls a week from people who are concerned about the effect drilling may have on their water supply — and they want their water tested before drilling begins.

But the health department isn’t responsible for water testing, she said. She offered the names of two laboratories: Sturm Environmental Services and Reliance Laboratories Inc. Both have offices in Bridgeport. Either can provide water testing, she said.

Preston County Assessor Terri Funk said her office has also had inquiries about water testing. She said there aren’t a lot of them, but people who are in her office for other reasons have asked. She said she gets a lot of people asking questions about different aspects of Marcellus drilling — about mineral values and how drilling on a neighbor’s land might impact them or their property values.

Knoebel said the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the agency that deals with water issues, not county health departments.

Commission President Craig Jennings said the county has no authority over drilling.

“We don’t have a regulatory authority for this — it’s up to the DEP.”

Commissioner Dave Price said, “We don’t have a dog in this fight because we don’t have a dog.”

“But it’s good that we all know where people can go to get water tested,” Knoebel said.

Sturm Environmental Services P.O. Box 650 Bridgeport, WV 26330 Fax: 304-623-6552
Reliance Laboratories Inc. 2044 Meadowbrook Road Bridgeport, WV 26330 1-304-842-5285  - www.RelianceLabs.net
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Randy Huffman randy.c.huffman@wv.gov - 304-926-0440