Forecasting concentrations of organic chemicals in the vadose zone caused by spills of hydraulic fracturing wastewater

Lanting, Ma and Hurtado, Antonio and Eguilior, Sonsoles and Llamas Borrajo, Juan Francisco (2019). Forecasting concentrations of organic chemicals in the vadose zone caused by spills of hydraulic fracturing wastewater. "The Science of the Total Environment", v. 696 ; pp. 1-13. ISSN 0048-9697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133911.

Description

Title: Forecasting concentrations of organic chemicals in the vadose zone caused by spills of hydraulic fracturing wastewater
Author/s:
  • Lanting, Ma
  • Hurtado, Antonio
  • Eguilior, Sonsoles
  • Llamas Borrajo, Juan Francisco
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: The Science of the Total Environment
Date: 2019
ISSN: 0048-9697
Volume: 696
Subjects:
Freetext Keywords: Hydraulic fracturing; Spill; Organic compounds; Vadose zone; Concentration evolution
Faculty: E.T.S.I. de Minas y Energía (UPM)
Department: Energía y Combustibles
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

The return water from hydraulic fracturing operations is characterised by high concentrations of salts and toxic organic compounds. This water is stored on the surface in storage tanks and/or ponds. Wastewater spills caused by inappropriate storage can lead to the contamination of various environmental compartments, thus posing a risk to human health. Such risk can be determined by estimating the concentrations of the substances in the storage system and the behaviour of the same in function of the characteristics of the environment in which they are released. To this end, here we addressed the evolution of the concentrations of pollutants in a tank used to store wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations. To do this, we estimated both the volume of flowback and the concentrations of the pollutants found in these waters. We then examined the dynamic behaviour of spill-derived compounds in the various environmental compartments in function of the conditions of the medium (humid, semi-arid, and arid). This approach allowed us to rank the hazard posed by the chemical compounds in question, as well as to determine those parameters associated with both the compounds and external natural conditions that contribute to environmental risk. Our results shed greater light on the mechanism by which external environmental variables (especially recharge rate) influence the migration of organic compounds in the vadose zone, and contribute to the prediction of their concentrations. Also, by estimating the time that chemicals remain in contaminated areas, we identify the phases of contamination that pose the greatest risk to human health. In summary, the approach used herein allows the ranking of compounds on the basis of risk to human health and can thus facilitate the design of pollutant management strategies. Of note, our ranked list highlights the relevance of benzene.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Government of SpainCTM2014-59828-RUnspecifiedUnspecifiedSeguridad en un proyecto de extracción de gas de esquisto

More information

Item ID: 63878
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/63878/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:63878
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133911
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719338616
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 22 Sep 2020 08:13
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2020 08:13
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