Safe hydraulic fracturing of unconventional oil and gas reserves present operators with many challenges. These challenges include water availability; well integrity; and lack of local infrastructure for treating and disposing of wastewater. Deep well injection of fracking wastewater has been implicated in promoting local earthquakes.
Surface disposal of unconventional fracturing wastewater into the Pittsburgh watershed was the primary disposal pathway until 2010 as the Marcellus Shale gas play was rapidly developed. Marcellus Shale fracturing wastewater averages over 100,000 ppm of total dissolved solids (TDS) with moderate concentrations of bromide and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs). In 2010 it was discovered that brominated trihalomethanes (THMs), a harbinger of chlorination disinfectant byproduct (DBP) formation and suspected potent carcinogens, spiked in finished Pittsburgh drinking water. In 2011, at the request of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the shale gas industry voluntarily ceased surface water disposal of fracturing wastewater from unconventional gas wells. In 2011 the primary fracturing wastewater disposal pathway for the industry rapidly transitioned into reuse. Many interesting peer reviewed publications have examined this episode and provide useful information on how discharge of unconventional fracturing wastewater into the Allegheny River watershed quantitatively affected Pittsburgh region drinking water quality and what happened to water quality after cessation of surface disposal. This information coupled with recent discoveries in the chemistry and toxicology of DBP can provide new perspectives on possible future management of unconventional gas fracturing waste streams.
All of these challenges and techniques to overcome them will be discussed in this session with expert speaker Bruce Beaver. He will also present the opportunities for innovation the industry is pursuing to address these challenges. In addition, useful quantitative information on the effect of fracturing wastewater reuse on NORM concentrations and associated health risks will be presented, and you’ll be given two recent peer-reviewed publications written by the professor, which discuss selected aspects of fracking, climate change and global development.
Who Should Attend
Bruce Beaver is Professor of Chemistry at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. His research interests include all aspects of hydrocarbon fuel (gasoline, jet, and diesel) oxidation. After receiving a doctorate in Organic Chemistry (UMASS/Amherst, with W. E. McEwen) Bruce was introduced to the fascinating field of fuel o... More info