High Volume fracking is coming to Illinois. Are you prepared?
- Do you have a baseline water test?
- Have you contacted your insurance company regarding earthquake insurance?
- Have you video recored or photographed your home, in case of earthquakes caused by fracking?
Baseline water testing and insurance coverage are two simple things you can do to protect yourself should something happen when fracking comes to your community.
Nothing is More Important than Baseline Testing Before Fracking Starts
Baseline Water Well and Flow Testing:
Testing your water for flow rate and chemical contaminants prior to HPHV fracking in your community provides evidence should future issues arise. Wells at least a mile from fracking sites should consider testing, but residents even further from any well pad should also consider getting their water tested. The first 1500 feet from the well pad will be tested by the industry as required by state law. However, the well bore may extend over a mile horizontally in any direction, plus fractures and contaminate migration may extend the risk radius even further. Well water could be affected anywhere along the horizontal pipe. Surface spills from accidents also potentially lead to water well contamination. If your water becomes contaminated after fracking, baseline testing is necessary to hold the industry accountable. The burden of proof should be on the oil & gas companies. Better to be safe than sorry.
What the tests should include:
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), PAHs (Polyaclyctic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), alcohols, BTEX/naphthalene, lead, chloride, sulfate and methane are some of the main chemicals to test for. There are additional tests listed on our website. A basic chemical test will cost about $400 depending on what laboratory you’ve chosen.
Testing for water soluble radium, uranium, cesium and thorium has also been suggested.
A mineral test from the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) starts at $35 and up to $65. It does not indicate industrial pollutants but will show diminution of the water well, should you notice a change in your water.
After fracking begins, routine in-home testing can be done to determine if your water needs to be lab tested. A pH level swimming pool testing kit will suffice and indicate of a problem, if it exists. The water should be alkaline, if it is not, it needs to be tested.
Please contact us for more information on water, air and soil testing. We have been in contact with Teklab Inc. for basic information please click here.
For a list of other labs that test for fracking chemicals, please see the Illinois EPA website list of labs accredited to test for chemical analysis at
Some fracking companies in Pennsylvania have claimed that if a resident collects and sends the sample to the lab, it is inadmissible as evidence, since the landowner technically could have sent a sample from anywhere. Having a 3rd party, collect and send your water sample to a lab may be advisable but it is also an added expense.
Here are three independent companies that can collect water samples, but we are attempting to find a local environmental advocate who will assist property owners in taking the samples. We will update this site as more information comes in. Please be aware that you will be charged either time or milage or both and we suggest you get a quote in writing before accepting their services.
Basin Environmental, Carmi, IL 618-380-2203
Chase Environmental, Mt. Vernon, IL 618-533-6740
PSC, Columbia, IL 618-281-1588
Air Quality and Radon Testing:
Air pollution is common in fracking areas. Test your air quality before fracking begins.
A simple home radon testing kit can be installed. During the process of fracking, radon is often released. It is recommended to install a radon monitor prior to fracking. Baseline air monitoring for PAHs and VOCs is also available through independent testing laboratories. See our website for details. Prerecorded evidence and testing verifies a healthy environment to your insurance company and officials if you file a complaint.
Home Testing Kits for Air and Radon
Benzene patch tester
Home test kit for VOC
Volatile Organic Compound Blood Testing:
Baseline blood tests insure that you have not been exposed to industrial frack chemicals commonly used. The tests are not covered by insurance and must be done prior to fracking beginning. If, after exposure to fracking operations, blood work shows a rise in fracking-related chemicals, it may help prove that the elevated levels are related to fracking. Your physician must order the kit and lab work to be performed. These tests run about $200. For more information visit http://www.metametrix.com/
Other preventive measures:
Make a detailed record using photos and videos of your community, nearby roads and your home. Include audio recordings to compare noise levels before and during fracking operations. Videotape areas around you at night. Take notice of wildlife in the surrounding areas.
Nonstop truck traffic will destroy roads. 24-hour operation of compressors, lights & flares will light up the countryside and present noise pollution. Fracking “quakes” cause damage to interior spaces of homes. Wildlife will be displaced. Evidence should be compiled before fracking begins in case you want to file a complaint in the future.
Recent science has proven that fracking and it’s subsequent disposal of waste into injection wells does increases the likelihood of earthquakes. It is advised to check with your homeowners insurance agent about earthquake coverage. (Enhanced Remote Earthquake Triggering at Fluid-Injection Sites in the Midwestern United States, Nicholas J. van der Elst et al. Science 341, 164 (2013);
Ask your local elected officials about noise & light ordinances, road weights & limits, and pollution control. Local governments have the authority to put bans and ordinances in place. Ask about first responders. Are they properly equipped and trained to handle fracking accidents, spills and fires? Do they know what to do if illegal dumping occurs? Drilling mud and waste should not be dumped in local landfills or buried near the site. Are the local landfills equipped with radiation detectors? Furthermore, industry has been known to dispose of toxic processed water by spraying it on gravel roads as a dust deterrent, even though this is illegal. This spray is loaded with dangerous chemicals, salts and radioactive elements, such as radium, strontium, & uranium. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0142-99/fs-0142-99.pdf
The new laws allow for residents near proposed frack sites, as well as towns and county officials, a right to contest a permit if there is reasonable cause. After the Department of Natural Resources files the rules, more will be known exactly how the process will work. It is advised that you seek legal advice in this process. Contact us for more information.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your legal rights, whether you’ve signed a lease or own your mineral rights, you may have room to negotiate. Know your rights as a tax paying property owner regarding forced integration. Forced integration, also known as forced pooling, occurs when a property owner is forced into allowing his property to be used by the fracking company. It is best to seek legal advice in any of the above situations when the issue presents itself. Please visit our website for information.
Because the state lacks adequate staff to monitor drilling activities, the IL Attorney General’s office has indicated that citizens should be vigilant and watchful. Understand the laws and your rights. Pay attention to disposal wells on or near your property. Ask to have them inspected.
If you are aware of an accident, surface spill, illegal dumping or water well contamination call the numbers below. Write down the name of the person who received your report, plus the date & time of your call.
IL EPA, Benton, IL: 888-372-1996, 618-993-7200
US EPA-Region 5: 312-353-2000
IL Dept. of Natural Resources, Marc Miller:217-782-6302
IL Dept. of Natural Resources, Doug Schutt:217-782-7756
IL Attorney General: 888-288-9436
ISWS water test: 217-333-9321
IL Emergency Management Agency: 217-782-2700
Governor Rauner: 217-782-0244
Please make sure your local and state elected officials are also aware of any report you file. Please let the Sentinels know. Our email is saveILwater@gmail.com or you can call us at 618-697-1182
For a pdf copy of this information, please go here to a google document.
Note: The material in this handout is intended for informational purposes only. The Sentinels are not responsible for the choices or actions of individuals. The ideas presented are suggestions, and do not constitute specific or professional recommendations.
Donate for Water Testing: