Austin Master Services, an environmental services firm specializing in radioactive waste remediation, has announced the groundwater monitoring test results from the Martins Ferry, OH facility.

The firm said that the results show no concern for the local water aquifer and highlight the impact made by historical industrial manufacturing processes previously conducted within the facility’s location.

The groundwater monitoring is conducted using a network of four monitoring wells situated around the Martins Ferry facility, according to Austin Master Services.

Austin Master Services said they installed three of the wells in 2015 while the fourth well was installed by the previous facility owner. The wells have bottom depths of 33.6 to 37.3 feet below ground surface.

From March 2016 to December 2019 Austin Master Services says they conducted well tests on-site by company-trained personnel. In September 2021, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) of Columbus, Ohio was hired to perform semi-annual sampling.

Austin Master Services said in the report, “sampling results to date indicate that the water quality in the vicinity of the facility has been significantly impacted by historical steel mill operations in the area,” and “the groundwater chemistry at these wells is more typical of what would be expected in the Ohio River floodplain. There is no evidence that the (Austin Master Services) facility operations have caused deterioration of the groundwater.”

The goal of the sampling program is to determine specific levels of oilfield fluids related to Austin Master Services operations. Oilfield fluids typically include items such as produced water and impaired water from hydraulic stimulation and contain specific ratios of bromide. According to the report, “the absence of bromide in the initial samples that were collected suggests a likely road salt origin for the chlorides at these wells,” previously reported. Bromide was analyzed in the initial sampling in 2015. No bromide was detected in samples from the most recent sample run.

Another byproduct of oilfield fluids is the presence of Radium 226 and Radium 228. According to the report, “Radium 226 and 228, which are commonly associated with fluids generated from oil and gas operations, have consistently been within normal concentration ranges for groundwater.”

To address any unofficial sampling results, the report states, “Since the Radium 226 and Radium 228 activity is within normal ranges, it is assumed that the elevated gross alpha, similar to the heavy metals discussed above (within the report), is an artificial artifact introduced as a result of poor sampling procedures that resulted in sediment in the samples.”

A copy of the groundwater well monitoring test is available on the Austin Master Services resource webpage.

Austin Master Services says they will continue to conduct groundwater monitoring sampling and release the results when available.