Disposal methods of Produced Water from around the World
“The disposal of co-produced water has proved to be the
biggest environmental problem associated with exploitation of coal seam methane
fields in the USA, although the quantity and quality of the water can vary
enormously between coal basins. Stricter environmental regulations are making
direct disposal options increasingly difficult.” (Clarke, 1996)
British Gas dumping toxic water on Australian soil
Published on Nov 19, 2012
Multi national Coal Seam Gas company British Gas (BG Group) owns QGC in
Australia. This video shows them dumping contaminated product water on
Australian roads, in the rivers and into the drink water supplies for many years
Frackers caught disposing of frackwater in California
November 26, 2013 Shafter, Kern County - California state inspectors issued a
notice of violation and a fine of $60,000 to
oil company Vintage Production after viewing a
YouTube video of an illegal discharge shot in October 2012 by Shafter
environmental activist Tom Frantz.
The video has now led the state to look into the drilling activity of dozens of
Regional board leaders are reviewing a state waiver
granted five years ago that allows companies to legally discharge some kinds
of fluids and drilling muds into unlined pits.
In the settlement, Vintage has agreed to cease discharging into any unlined pits
in agricultural areas.
Even though the de facto moratorium on high-volume horizontal
hydraulic fracturing in New York State continues, the disposal of waste from
hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations is occurring in New York now and
deserves our attention.
In July 2013,
Riverkeeper wrote to the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and requested information
about one method of handling fracking waste that New York is currently allowing:
the use of production brine from conventional, low-volume fracking on New York
roads for de-icing, dust control, and road stabilization.
The extraction of natural gas using fracking produces large amounts of liquid
and solid waste that can contain a number of harmful pollutants, including salts
(sometimes expressed as total dissolved solids or TDS); chemical additives,
which may include ethylene glycol, naphthalene, and sulfuric acid; metals;
organic compounds; and other contaminants.
Exxon Charged With Illegally Dumping Polluted Fracking Fluid
September 11, 2013 Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has filed
criminal charges against ExxonMobil for illegally dumping tens of thousands
of gallons of hydraulic fracturing waste at a drilling site in 2010. The Exxon
subsidiary, XTO Energy, had removed a plug from a wastewater tank, leading to
57,000 gallons of contaminated water spilling into the soil.
Another Pennsylvania Wastewater Treatment Plant Accused of Illegally
Disposing Radioactive Fracking Waste
18 July 2013 A Pennsylvania industrial wastewater treatment plant has been
illegally accepting oil and gas wastewater and polluting the Allegheny river
with radioactive waste and other pollutants, according to an environmental group
which announced today that it is suing the plant.
“Waste Treatment Corporation has been illegally discharging oil and gas
wastewater since at least 2003, and continues to discharge such wastewater
without authorization under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Streams Law,” the
notice of intent to sue delivered by Clean Water Action reads.
Nova Scotia, Canada to ban fracking water from New Brunswick
28 November 2013 Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says a bill to
prohibit out-of-province fracking waste is coming soon.
"If New Brunswick wants to do fracking or any other province wants to do
fracking, don't look to the province of Nova Scotia to deal with your fracking
waste," he said.
And back in Australia ...
04 December 2013 AGL’s is still trying to figure out where to put their
waste water from the wells at Gloucester NSW.
AGL's Mike Moraza says there are several sites being considered.
“There are locations at Sydney, there are locations in Newcastle, there are
locations up in the Taree district,” he said.
However the nearby water corporations don't want it.
Hunter Water says the amount of flowback produced is too much for their plant to
be able to treat and dispose of.
Midcoast Water says that if it wanted to treat the water, a special variation to
its licence would be needed which they have no plans to obtain.
The New South Wales Greens spokesperson for mining Jeremy Buckingham said it has
to end up somewhere, and NSW residents should look out.
“Is it going to end up in a sewer, in a creek, in our rivers?” he asked.
“There is no credible plan for how they're going to deal with this toxic water.
“Sydney residents, Newcastle residents, Taree residents are going to be a
dumping ground for this toxic flowback water from coal seam gas.”
Manmade lakes to hold water from coal seam gas wells
March 2013 Gas company Santos is digging
giant lakes in the Pilliga district,
north-western NSW, to hold millions of litres of contaminated water from their
coal seam gas wells.
The plastic-lined lakes will hold enough salty brine to fill about 240
Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The project was approved by the state government despite the NSW Environment
Protection Authority writing to government planners warning of the "inherent
risk" of approving construction before a complete water management plan had been
Evaporation ponds were banned in NSW in 2011 but not before the approval was
given to Santos for these ponds.
What about reinjecting the fracking waste water back into the earth?
Think again ... Science 12 July 2013: Vol. 341 no. 6142 pp. 164-167
Enhanced Remote Earthquake Triggering at Fluid-Injection Sites in the
Midwestern United States
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
A recent dramatic increase in seismicity in the midwestern United States may be
related to increases in deep wastewater injection.
Here, we demonstrate that areas with suspected anthropogenic earthquakes are
also more susceptible to earthquake-triggering from natural transient stresses
generated by the seismic waves of large remote earthquakes.
Enhanced triggering susceptibility suggests the presence of critically loaded
faults and potentially high fluid pressures.
Sensitivity to remote triggering is most clearly seen in sites with a long delay
between the start of injection and the onset of seismicity and in regions that
went on to host moderate magnitude earthquakes within 6 to 20 months.
Triggering in induced seismic zones could therefore be an indicator that fluid
injection has brought the fault system to a critical state.
Accepted for publication 23 May 2013.
Nicholas J. van der Elst1,*, Heather M. Savage1,
Katie M. Keranen2,†, Geoffrey A. Abers1
1Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Post Office Box 1000,
61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
2ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 100
East Boyd Street, Norman, OK 73069, USA.
Science 12 July 2013: Vol. 341 no. 6142
William L. Ellsworth, Earthquake Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Earthquakes in unusual locations have become an important topic of discussion in
both North America and Europe, owing to the concern that industrial activity
could cause damaging earthquakes.
It has long been understood that earthquakes can be induced by impoundment of
reservoirs, surface and underground mining, withdrawal of fluids and gas from
the subsurface, and injection of fluids into underground formations.
Injection-induced earthquakes have, in particular, become a focus of discussion
as the application of hydraulic fracturing to tight shale formations is enabling
the production of oil and gas from previously unproductive formations.
Earthquakes can be induced as part of the process to stimulate the production
from tight shale formations, or by disposal of wastewater associated with
stimulation and production.
Here, I review recent seismic activity that may be associated with industrial
activity, with a focus on the
disposal of wastewater by injection in deep wells; assess the scientific
understanding of induced earthquakes; and discuss the key scientific challenges
to be met for assessing this hazard.