Nav: Home

What happens to hydraulic fracturing wastewater on cropland

June 01, 2016

The use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has grown rapidly in the U.S. over the past 15 years -- but concerns persist that the oil and gas extraction method could harm the environment and people's health. To better understand its potential effects, scientists simulated what would happen to the wastewater produced by the technique after a spill. They published their findings in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

This spring, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that hydraulic fracturing accounts for two-thirds of the country's natural gas production. Customers have benefited from lower gas bills, but the technique's growth comes with some risks. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission received reports of 838 spills that released a total of more than 660,000 gallons of fluids associated with fracking in 2014. Since hydraulic fracturing and, potentially, any associated spills often occur near agricultural land, Jens Blotevogel, Thomas Borch and colleagues wanted to find out whether compounds in the wastewater biodegrade or stick around in the soil where they might be taken up by crops.

The researchers tested the fates of three common hydraulic fracturing additives in agricultural topsoil. The surfactant polyethylene glycol completely degraded within 42 to 71 days. But the surfactant did not break down when combined with another hydraulic fracturing additive called a biocide at a salt concentration typical for wastewater produced during oil and gas extraction. The researchers say their findings highlight the need for further testing to better understand spills' potential effects on crops and the environment.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from Colorado State University and by the Borch-Hoppess Fund for Environmental Contaminant Research.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us: TwitterFacebook

American Chemical Society

Related Hydraulic Fracturing Articles:

What factors influence the likelihood of fracking-related seismicity in Oklahoma?
The depth of a hydraulic fracturing well in Oklahoma, among other factors, increases the probability that fracking will lead to earthquake activity, according to a new report in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Skoltech scientists use ML to optimize hydraulic fracturing design for oil wells
Skoltech researchers and their industry colleagues have created a data-driven model that can forecast the production from an oil well stimulated by multistage fracturing technology.
Fracking chemical may interfere with male sex hormone receptor
A chemical used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, has the potential to interfere with reproductive hormones in men, according to research accepted for presentation at ENDO 2020, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, and publication in a special supplemental section of the Journal of the Endocrine Society.
Paper: Disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing poses dangers to drivers
A new paper co-written by Yilan Xu, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shows that the growing traffic burden in shale energy boomtowns from trucks hauling wastewater to disposal sites resulted in a surge of road fatalities and severe accidents.
Water reuse could be key for future of hydraulic fracturing
Enough water will come from the ground as a byproduct of oil production from unconventional reservoirs during the coming decades to theoretically counter the need to use fresh water for hydraulic fracturing operations in many of the nation's large oil-producing areas.
UTA study examines potential sources of groundwater contamination in private wells
A study led by environmental researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington suggests a disconnect between the perception of groundwater contamination and the extent to which that contamination is attributable to oil and natural gas extraction.
Swapping water for CO2 could make fracking greener and more effective
Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China University of Petroleum (Beijing) have demonstrated that CO2 may make a better hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluid than water.
Federal research significant in environmental rule-making
Federally-sponsored science plays a more significant role in bringing together stakeholders and facilitating environmental governance debates than all other types of research, according to an international team of researchers.
Studies link earthquakes to fracking in the central and eastern US
Small earthquakes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas can be linked to hydraulic fracturing wells in those regions, according to researchers speaking at the SSA 2019 Annual Meeting.
Location of wastewater disposal drives induced seismicity at US oil sites
The depth of the rock layer that serves as the disposal site for wastewater produced during unconventional oil extraction plays a significant role in whether that disposal triggers earthquakes in the US, according to a new study that takes a broad look at the issue.
More Hydraulic Fracturing News and Hydraulic Fracturing Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.