July 16, 2019 Update: Please see the wrap up of the FoB baseline studies.

2018 Friends of Buckingham Baseline Testing Project of well water, surface water, air, health – Final Report

Baseline Testing for Well Water

February 28, 2019 Update: The ACP currently has a Stop Work Order and numerous court cases are battling it out. I add to this posting Dr Lakshmi Fjord’s Union Hill Household Study, central to our protest of Dominion’s erasure of the people, culture and history of the Union Hill Community, the most closely impacted peoples by the proposed 54,000 + hp Buckingham Compressor Station. It includes a health survey.

Fjord Union Hill Community Household Study 12-17-18 Lakshmi Fjord

March 3, 2018 Update:

We have decided to do 3 baseline testing projects: 1) well water testing along the 25 mile proposed ACP route in Buckingham County, 2) air, noise, health monitoring around the proposed compressor station [CS] neighborhood only, 3) coordinating trainings for surface water stream monitoring related to proposed ACP stream crossings. My apologies, I haven’t much time to update this, but will do the best i can. Please feel free to email me, as I am overseeing these 3 projects: Heidi Dhivya Berthoud      info@friendsofbuckinghamva.org

The evidence that we uncover in our research will not only benefit Buckingham County, Virginia, but also have benefits for hundreds if not thousands of people when disseminated to our partners. We have asked our public health departments to do these studies; were referred to the DEQ!, and got no for an answer. We, the people, have launched a comprehensive citizen effort to monitor impacts to our water, air, noise and health and hold Dominion’s ACP accountable.

We have recently received a $10,000 grant to pursue baseline testing, pre-construction, for 8 households, for air, noise, and health in proximity to the proposed compressor station. This work would be based on a Citizen Science Toolkit  OR  SWEHPCitizen_Science_Toolkit recently developed by the South West Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project [SWPA-EHP] intended for use by people living within five miles of UOGD (unconventional oil and gas development, such as compressor stations).

We have negotiated for separate well water analysis with Research Environmental Industrial Consultants, Inc. (REIC), which would include more than just the 8 households in the CS neighborhood mentioned above and more households along the proposed pipeline route. We would like to be able to do testing pre-construction, and post construction. The ACP has yet to fulfill all its requirements for beginning construction. ACP would like to begin construction of the CS neighborhood in May 2018. We will begin baseline testing with EHP in March 2018. When we know the confirmed construction schedule for the CS, we would want the well water testing to begin just before that time. The pipeline may be on a different time schedule.

Timing for testing well water is important for 2 reasons. We are advised not to do it too soon, as ACP could claim other factors interfered between testing and construction. Also there is the question of the age of the data being accepted by a court of law.

For the well water testing, we are following the lead of Lisa Lefferts, MSPH, who is in charge of the project for Horizons Eco-Village in Nelson County, VA, just west and ‘up-pipeline’ from Buckingham County. We feel so fortunate to benefit by collaborating with her, as she is a public health scientist. She has worked up a list of 87 contaminants to test for, initially worked up with National Labs. Baseline water testing list of 87 contaminants We have chosen to use REIC, as Horizons Village is using them, which allows for consistency and comparative analysis. The sampling will take about 2-3 days. The results will be entered into a spread-sheet and corroborated with Lisa Lefferts. This information will also be shared with our partners SWPA-EHP, Physicians for Social Responsibility, etc, for their research and evidence building against the use of fossil fuels.

We have negotiated a group rate with REIC of $250 per household, for 8 + households, for a list of 87 contaminants with compliance testing – certified, defensible, and will pass any QA/QC requirements should we ever need to use this data in court. This list was originally determined and requested of National Labs by Ms Lefferts. REIC has agreed to this list.  Baseline water testing list of 87 contaminants  It will cost another $156 per household to add dissolved methane/ethane (compliance testing). Those that are in very close proximity to the CS site, and or the pipeline, might want to add glyphosate testing (compliance testing), as this would be an herbicide the ACP could choose to maintain the areas. That is a separate price of $205. Sampling would cost $75/household. Prices are subject to variables.

Well water testing is very expensive, as you can see.  Please check out the SWPA-EHP Citizen Science Toolkit, as they advise, as a minimum, to test for conductivity and pH, which can be indicators of trouble, but much less expensive. Options…

Original Post, April 22, 2017:   Landowners up an down the pipelines are being approached by the ACP to do baseline testing. Below is compiled advice on how best to respond as a landowner; what to test for, and methodology. It is a lot to troll through, so i advise skimming for the overview, and then dig in. Also included is info compiled with easy access to what other citizens, and groups have accomplished. Give special attention to the extensive Madison County (NY) Health Department Baseline Study Report, which tests for air, water, noise, community health – all in one study.

This information can be handily utilized for any groups to approach your respective health departments, asking them to do a thorough baseline study. This gets them involved, informed and hopefully concerned. Friends of Buckingham is still researching best ways to approach our health department and what tests and methodologies to use. We hope to collaborate with other impacted communities. [Update 9/14/17]: We have found that both Virginia local and regional health departments do not have the authority to do this work of baseline testing. It would still be helpful to communicate concerns and information with them. The Department of Environmental Quality [DEQ] handles air and water concerns. The Department of Environmental Health [DEH] would answer to health concerns related to the environment. Noise would be addressed by the Labor & Industry Department. Quite the maze…

This is a sample letter for homeowners to send to the ACP, LLC permitting water testing and requiring results to be shared with homeowner, etc. This was originally penned for Augusta County landowners by attorneys from Appalachian Mountain Advocates (APPLMAD). Landowners may edit and adapt according to needs. Please note that this document is provided for general self-help purposes and shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Please contact an attorney if you have any legal questions or need legal advice. Water Testing Agreement w ACP  Below is much information to draw upon.

Landowners take note: “Guidance for Monitoring Effects of Gas Pipeline Development on Surface Water and Groundwater Supplies” by DOWNSTREAM STRATEGIES. Organizational sponsors include: Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Friends of Middle River, Friends of Nelson, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Virginia Organizing, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and West Virginia Rivers Coalition. Support was also provided by individual contributors. 46-page document available here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/21393847/DSS%20Report%202016/Water_Supply_Monitoring.pdf

Madison County (NY) Health Department Baseline Community Environmental Monitoring Results. Madison Cty, NY, Dept Health – compressor station testing  for a 36 page report including well, surface waters, air, noise.

VA Cooperative Extension water testing – includes list of items tested for – a very short list, 14 items, useless for for our needs, but, fyi… VA Cooperative Ext Water Quality Program

Pennsylvania DEP fracking chemical list December 2008; from a River Reporter article, “What’s in that fracking fluid? Pennsylvania discloses the chemicals used by the drilling companies” Fracking chemical list: PA DEP frac chemical list 12-08  River Reporter list of fracking fluid health complaints and identification: River Reporter Fracking 

Update September 2017: SW-EHP had developed a Citizen Science Toolkit for monitoring noise, water, air! Check it out here:

South West Pennsylvania Environmental Environmental Health Project (SWP-EHPwebsite link here.  “Recommended compounds for water tests around compressor stations” document: 2SW PA Env Health – Water testing near compressors
– Thanks to Celia Lewis, Research and Communications Consultant at SWPA-EHP, working out of New Haven, CT. A new article (March 2017) out on water impacts that may be of interest when thinking about what to test for:  “The geochemistry of naturally occurring methane and saline groundwater in an area of unconventional shale gas development”   Read short article here at Science Direct. Raina Rippel is Director of SWPA-EHP and she is located in Washington County, PA.
– SWPA-EHP summary on compressor stations and health impacts, February, 2015, 23-page report: SWP-EHP Compressor-station-emissions-and-health-impacts-02.24.2015

All of these lists of toxins to test for are incomplete, as the list of fracking chemicals is extensive and… Missing are toxins like Mercury, Radon, Chromium 6, and…

Other advice for landowners and public health agencies alike, from Barbara Arrindel, Director of the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS):
– Let them test, but demand split sampling with your private lab (your water lab people will know what this means) and VERY important, video them doing the sampling. ALSO get a sound expert to document the sound levels around your home and at the fence-line of your property using several different decibel scales – make sure they measure audible and low frequency sound.
– Low Frequency Noise – using a decibel scale that actually measures in the low frequency range
– Ultra fine particles – these are 2.5 micron and smaller, produced by burning natural gas – there are SPEC monitors for this
– Radiation using appropriate tests that require a 21 day holding time because actually measuring decay products and
– Gasoline range organics, diesel range organics and heavier carbon materials (greases) – these come from the machinery itself in the compressor facility. These materials were spewed as an aerosol over about a half square mile (or more) area in Clearville, PA and resulted in some severe health problems.
– DCS has a new paper (January 26, 2017) we facilitated on plumes of elevated concentration downwind of compressors – using actual measurements!!! Document: Characterization of methane plumes downwind of natural gas compressor stations in Pennsylvania and New York.  Website link here for the document.
Methane Plumes Downwind of Natural Gas Compressor Stations: Read article here
– Elevated levels of diesel range organic compounds in groundwater near Marcellus gas operations are derived from surface activities  Read article here

Concerned Health Professionals of New York (www.concernedhealthny.org) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr.org). “COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND MEDIA FINDINGS DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING (UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION)”, Fourth Edition November 17, 2016  Click here for the compendium  Dr Larysa Dryszka of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, is a main contributor. Thanks to Barbara Gottlieb of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).

EPA, Office of Inspector General report September 29, 2014: “More Action is Needed to Protect Water Sources from Unmonitored Hazardous Sources” EPA Report (Sep2014) hazardous chemicals released into water

A gathering of the various lists of contaminents
various groups have/are testing for.

Currently Lisa Lefferts, is reviewing all these lists to discern an ideal comprehensive list of chemicals and methodologies. She is a senior scientist with Center for Science in the Public Interest and has a long history of environmental research work, including the Rachel Carson Institute. She lives at Horizons Village in Nelson County VA, which the ACP is proposed to skirt.

VA Cooperative Ext Water Quality Program  14 items

PA DEP frac chemical list 12-08

Baseline water testing list of 87 contaminants

2SW PA Env Health – Water testing near compressors

Downstreamtestingestimate 2017  

Downstream Strategies offers environmental consulting services that combine sound interdisciplinary skills with a core belief in the importance of protecting the environment and linking economic development with natural resource stewardship.


– DCS has a new paper (January 26, 2017) we facilitated on plumes of elevated concentration downwind of compressors – using actual measurements!!! Document: Characterization of methane plumes downwind of natural gas compressor stations in Pennsylvania and New York.  Website link here for the document.
Methane Plumes Downwind of Natural Gas Compressor Stations: Read article here
– Elevated levels of diesel range organic compounds in groundwater near Marcellus gas operations are derived from surface activities  Read article here

From Earthworks, a study conducted by Nadia Steinzor:  Community Air Monitoring of Oil and Gas Pollution: A Survey of Issues and Technologies, March 2016. The 19 page document here:  Air_Monitoring_Earthworks_3-2016


Low frequency noise is a much ignored issue, but good research has already been done. Charles Morgan has a number of important contributions:
– Compressor Station Piping Noise Tests and Noise Data, and
– LFN Limits – Testing Parameters – Health Effects Corrected, and
– Atlantic Coast Ppeline EIS Comments 02172017 Brookfield Resident Argues Annoying Noise From Gas Pipeline Compressor Station a Sign of Bigger Problems to Come Morgan.SPEC 1.Gas Compressor Noise.3×14.2015 Vibro-Acoustic_disease__A New Attitude Toward Noise and
– Morgan.SPEC 1.Gas Compressor Noise.3×14.2015 and
– Brookfield Resident Argues Annoying Noise From Gas Pipeline Compressor Station a Sign of Bigger Problems to Come and
– Atlantic Coast Pipeline EIS Comments 02172017
Charles E. Morgan, P.E., Inactive
Major, USAF, Retired
Executive Director.
Citizens for Environmental Clean-Up
609 East F.M. 489
Buffalo, Texas 75831

Comments on compressor station with a focus on NOISE by Barbara Arrindell, Director Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Milanville, PA. Extensively resourced: COMMENT on Davidson Township Compressor Station

DEIS comments by attorney Sam Johnston focusing on low-frequency noise: Johnston Law Offices Comment on ACP






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