Oil and Gas Wastewater Analysis for Reuse/Recycle Management

Topics in Shale Gas
Oral Presentation

Prepared by D. Gratson1, R. Vitale2
1 - Environmental Standards, PO Box 29432, Santa Fe, NM, 87592, United States
2 - Environmental Standards, 1140 Valley Forge Road, Valley Forge, PA, 19482, United States

Contact Information: dgratson@envstd.com; 505-365-2723


The oil and gas exploration sector continues to develop new approaches for managing, recycling, and re-using wastewater associated with hydraulic fracturing (produced water). Concurrently, regulators and NGOs have become more interested in information regarding the complete chemical characterization of this resource. A recent US EPA and New Mexico Environmental Department Draft White Paper (https://www.epa.gov/eg/study-oil-and-gas-extraction-wastewater-management) outlines governance of this oil and gas derived wastewater. In early 2018 the US EPA has also initiated a Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management. These recent initiatives emphasize the interest in re-using this resource and the importance of accurate analysis of produced water prior to reuse.

Analysis of wastewater associated with oil and gas exploration and production can be challenging due to the variable and complex matrix containing dissolved contaminants that can vary by orders of magnitude between formations. Though numerous EPA methods exist for measuring conventional and toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act, there is a paucity of validated methods for the this highly saline brine wastewater matrix. This presentation will outline approaches for analysis of produced water and highlight where further work and validation of current methods is warranted.