Testing Requirements for Drinking Water Caused by “Fracking” by Headspace-Gas Chromatography (HS-GC) with Flame Ionization Detection (FID)

Poster Presentation

Prepared by L. Marotta, D. Yates, J. Casagrande, T. Kwoka
PerkinElmer, 710 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT, 06484, United States

Contact Information: lee.marotta@perkinelmer.com; 914-954-1779


The advent of horizontal drilling technologies and hydraulic fracturing has made production of oil and natural gas economical and presents an energy source of sufficient magnitude that could last 100 years.

The technology presents a number of analytical challenges. The wells are drilled vertically through aquifers on their way to the deep shale deposits thousands of feet under the surface. In the process of drilling the wells and preparing them for production, opportunities arise for contamination of the clean drinking water aquifers with methane and other low molecular weight organics (e.g., propane and ethane).

This presentation will discuss how headspace-gas chromatography is an optimum solution to this challenge, including simplified technique of sampling, ease of instrument operation, and enhanced precision and accuracy. In addition, this solution provides aggressive detection limits required by this important application.

Instrumentation, method parameters, data and results will be discussed, and achieving EPA criteria will be demonstrated.