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Baseline water testing to be offered


June 20, 2012

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Chris Talbott, a Sullivan County homeowner, and the Community Science Institute (CSI) are set to launch an area-wide initiative to test groundwater in the area. The CSI project will create a public database reporting test results for area water supplies, providing a baseline measurement that could be used in the case that fracking activities are conducted in the future to help diagnose contamination.

Talbott will be manning a CSI table at the Callicoon Farmers’ Market on Sundays, June 24 and July 1, and at the Jeffersonville Farmers’ Market on Thursday, July 5 to discuss the baseline initiative and how you can test your own drinking water, ponds, lakes and streams. CSI, based in Ithaca, is a nonprofit organization that operates a New York State and EPA-certified water-testing lab.

For $680 plus travel costs, CSI will create a profile of your private drinking water consisting of 74 signature chemicals. If contamination from a nearby gas well were to occur, it should be detected by substantial changes in the levels of at least some of these signature chemicals. Groundwater is the source of drinking water for most rural households in our region, and it is the main source of water in streams, ponds and lakes.
If CSI finds at least 15 area residents to use its testing services, it will provide a 16th set of tests, free of charge, on a stream or lake decided by the community, by vote at the Callicoon and Jeffersonville farmers’ markets.

Results will be pooled and posted, with privacy protections, online.