SEGUIN, TX – The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority water testing lab has 30% more business because some homeowners are concerned about fracking and the drought.
Water sample testing is something cities are required to do once a month.
"We test our waste water to make sure there's not a bad bacteria in it that we can't put back into the environment,” Brian Griffin with the city of Smiley says. “We irrigate pasture land with it."
Lately, the River Authority’s lab technicians are testing some private wells for the first time with samples brought in from homeowners.
The techs are conducting baseline studies – basically, seeing what’s in the water at any given moment.
"You always want to have a baseline study when it's dry and a baseline study when it's wet, and when it's the norm,” Josephine Longoria with the River Authority says. "Geological formations play a large role in how the water's going to be affected."
Longoria says it’s hard to answer if any given water sample is safe, because not all samples come from wells people use for drinking and cooking.
"We term it differently,” she says. “We don't say, this is horrible, terrible water. We just say, you've had a positive hit for E. coli. We wanted to let you know in case you wanted to treat it."
A full battery of tests can cost $700.
"It's pretty expensive,” Longoria says. “Most people can't afford it. So what they do is analyze for indicator parameters."
Indicator tests start at $20. Longoria explains techs can compare results over time to check for new chemicals or bacteria.
She says among the lab’s biggest clients are fracking companies.
"They too are very interested in making sure people are comfortable and so they also come to us,” Longoria says.
She says many concerned homeowners check with the fracking companies first to see if the lab should test for a specific chemical.
The lab recommends, especially in times of drought, to get your water tested at least once a year.