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Testing for Gases in Water Simplified

A proposed ASTM International standard aims to provide a simplified way to test for dissolved gases, such as methane and ethane, in water.

Drilling companies’ environmental and testing laboratories will be able to use the proposed standard to ensure that drinking water is safe in areas in which hydraulic fracturing occurs, ASTM says.

Laboratories would use the proposed test — WK43267, Test Method for Measurement of Dissolved Gases Methane, Ethane, Ethylene and Propane by Static Headspace Sampling and Flame Ionization Detection (GC/FID) — to compare water from fracking areas to water prepared with dissolved gases as a serial dilution.

“The American Petroleum Institute recommends that drilling companies test surrounding drinking water reservoirs and wells before, during and after drilling to ensure that there are no residual effects from drilling,” says ASTM member Anne Jurek, senior applications chemist, EST Analytical. “ “The proposed standard will aid this testing by normalizing dissolved gas analysis.”

According to Jurek, the results are a direct comparison of an unknown concentration of dissolved gases in a raw sample versus a saturated water sample diluted to a known concentration. She says the sample matrices are the same as the calibration standard matrices.

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