People who get their water from wells near oil and gas development can test for contamination by hazardous chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
In hydraulic fracturing, producers use chemicals, water and sand to break apart rock to release natural gas. Citing Environmental Protection Agency documents, Forston Labs says those chemicals can include benzene, known to cause cancer, and others.
Some chemicals occur naturally in groundwater, but can be found at toxic levels in water contaminated by fracking, according to Forston Labs.
Consumers can easily conduct the test by dipping the product in sample water, Forston Labs President Steve Zelenak said. That process distinguishes the product from that of its competitors, which can involve complicated testing procedures.
“We have real, solid science behind it, yet it’s as simple as can be,” Zelenak said.
Developed by an environmental toxicologist and an environmental chemist, the product can detect changes in water before homeowners notice differences indicated by odor or other characteristics, he said.
At $1,400, the test may cost more than some individual homeowners want to pay. Zelenak is pushing the product to homeowner’s associations that could test water of multiple wells because the product can be used “thousands” of times.
Founded in 2009, Fort Collins-based Forston Labs is a Rocky Mountain Innosphere company.