Impacts of shale gas wastewater disposal on water quality in western Pennsylvania.
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The safe disposal of liquid wastes associated with oil and gas production in the United States is a major challenge given their large volumes and typically high levels of contaminants. In Pennsylvania, oil and gas wastewater is sometimes treated at brine treatment facilities and discharged to local streams. This study examined the water quality and isotopic compositions of discharged effluents, surface waters, and stream sediments associated with a treatment facility site in western Pennsylvania. The elevated levels of chloride and bromide, combined with the strontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic compositions of the effluents reflect the composition of Marcellus Shale produced waters. The discharge of the effluent from the treatment facility increased downstream concentrations of chloride and bromide above background levels. Barium and radium were substantially (>90%) reduced in the treated effluents compared to concentrations in Marcellus Shale produced waters. Nonetheless, (226)Ra levels in stream sediments (544-8759 Bq/kg) at the point of discharge were ~200 times greater than upstream and background sediments (22-44 Bq/kg) and above radioactive waste disposal threshold regulations, posing potential environmental risks of radium bioaccumulation in localized areas of shale gas wastewater disposal.
Waste Disposal, Fluid
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1021/es402165b
Publication InfoWarner, Nathaniel R; Christie, Cidney A; Jackson, Robert B; & Vengosh, Avner (2013). Impacts of shale gas wastewater disposal on water quality in western Pennsylvania. Environ Sci Technol, 47(20). pp. 11849-11857. 10.1021/es402165b. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8303.
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Adjunct Professor of Earth & Ocean Sciences
Robert B. Jackson is the Nicholas Chair of Global Environmental Change in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Division of the Nicholas School of the Environment and a professor in the Biology Department. His research examines how people affect the earth, including studies of the global carbon and water cycles, biosphere/atmosphere interactions, energy use, and global change. Rob Jackson received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University (1983). He worked four years for the Dow
Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences
My research aims to link environmental geochemistry and isotope hydrology in order to trace the sources and mechanisms of water contamination and relationships with human health. Current research includes global changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, the
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