WQ Baseline & Environmental Services

Appalachia provides water quality baseline services for wells, springs, ponds/lakes and streams throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York.  Interested parties will find information on the necessary components of a proper water quality baseline as well as descriptions of and pricing for our water quality baseline packages.

Completing a water quality baseline is just the beginning of our relationship with clients.  A proper baseline not only provides information on a water source's geochemistry, but also includes important technical and analytical data that assists in evaluating future changes in water quality and associated causes.

Appalachia Hydrogeologic and Environmental Consulting, LLC is a fully insured environmental consulting firm, headed by registered Professional Geologists.  For more information about our company, please navigate to our main website, which can be accessed by clicking here. 

A. Critical Water Quality Baseline Components

Summary of Baseline Components

Water quality baselines for wells, springs, ponds/lakes and streams can be broken down into three critical parts.

1.  Documentation of proper purging and sampling procedures,

2.  Full-data deliverable package from an accredited laboratory, which includes results, chain-of-custody and complete quality assurance/quality control information (QA/QC) and

3.  Suite of analytes that are tested for by the laboratory.

1.  A critical component to any baseline is the implementation and documentation of proper purging and sampling procedures, which differ depending on the water source being sampled.  For a baseline to be defensible, it must include these procedures, which are often grossly misunderstood by laboratories and consultants alike.  For example, purging a well from a spigot for an arbitrary duration of time (i.e. 10, 20, 30 minutes) is not an appropriate methodology and has no scientific basis.   Appalachia's purging and sampling procedures are based on guidance documents published by federal and state agencies and should be well known and understood by reputable environmental consultants.  Adherence to documented and appropriate purging and sampling procedures is an absolute for collecting credible samples.  Remember, the ultimate goal for a water quality baseline is to document the natural water quality. For additional information on appropriate purging and sampling methodologies, please visit our Baseline Sampling Guidelines section.

2.  Another critical component to a baseline is an appropriate deliverable from a properly accredited laboratory.  Laboratory deliverables can be generally broken down into three types:
1.  Results only,
2.  Reduced and
3. Full.
Confusion is all too apparent as to what is the most appropriate deliverable and many individuals appear to be receiving Results only-type laboratory deliverables or less.  
  • Only a Full-data laboratory deliverable package can be used to verify and validate the laboratory results for a sample, even if they come from a state-accredited laboratory.  This is due to the fact that this is the only laboratory package that includes all quality assurance/quality control information.
Visit our Laboratory Deliverable Guidelines section for further information.

3.  Thirdly, a water quality baseline should consider analytes that are consistent with oil & gas drilling operations and/or can serve as indicator parameters for gas drilling-related contamination.  There are literally 1000's of compounds associated with the oil & gas industry.  Therefore, the most effective baselines will balance the most applicable compounds with cost, to create a suite of analytes that are both protective of water resources & human health and remain within consumer budgets.  Greater detail on the various types of compounds commonly detected or used to identify oil & gas drilling contamination can be found in our Gas-Drilling Associated Compounds section.

B. Baseline Packages (call for pricing)

1. Basic Package

  • Basic letter report documenting purging  & sampling procedures and laboratory report summary in layman terms.
  • Detailed site documentation included in Appendix.
  • PA-accredited laboratory Full-data deliverable package.
  • Backup CD:  Includes electronic copies of the laboratory deliverable package and letter report.  Sampling photo-documentation is also included.
  • Field screening:  pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, electrical conductivity, nitrate, alkalinity
  • Laboratory analytes:  25 metals, methane, ethane, ethene, propane, chloride, bromide, TSS, TDS, sulfate, sulfide, pH
2. Preferred Package

  • Basic Package
  • Adds 83 volatile organic compounds           to the list of laboratory analytes.
3. Premium Package

  • Preferred Package
  • Detailed letter report documenting purging & sampling procedures, laboratory report summary in layman terms and includes site documentation (included in Appendix for the Basic and Preferred Packages).
  • Site location map
  • Photo-documentation hard copies
  • Condensed analyte laboratory tables