Bradford County wants to test well water

By Matt Porter

July 25, 2013 Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 10:46 PM EDT

Towanda, PA (WBNG Binghamton) In a short-notice press conference, the commissioners office of Bradford County announced it would apply for a federal grant to study its domestic well water.

The Guthrie Health Research Foundation is assisting the county in writing its proposal for a grant up to $250,000 to study long-term well water quality.

The tests would be conducted with help from the United States Geological Survey.

The study would examine well water for all types of natural and artificial contaminants, including chemicals involved in the hydraulic fracturing process.

But Bradford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Doug McLinko stressed the test was completely independent of fracking concerns

"I'm sure that whatever shows up in water, be it natural, be it man-made, or septic or anything, I'm sure that will come out. We need a baseline going forward, we can always come back to this," McLinko said. "It's really a good thing we're doing here, we're proud of it.".

Democrat Commissioner Mark Smith said it's important to find out what, if any, contamination may exist.

"It's going to give us an idea if those concerns do exist," Smith said, "The state of Pennsylvania hasn't done anything like this, and like a lot of issues up in northeast Pa., we've had to do this ourselves."

Guthrie Health's Laura Fitzgerald said all results of the study will be made public.

"We have an interest in any research that does have scientific merit, looking at that research and making that research available to the community in a transparent way," Fitzgerald said.

Tests could be taken annually for 10 years as part of the study.

The county is also considering private funding options.