Monday, February 21, 2011

About the Science: USEPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study

People who only hear negative rhetoric may not know that there is science involved in the process of hydraulic fracturing. It is that science that sometimes makes processes vulnerable to critique and conjecture.

Hydraulic Fracturing Study.
The USEPA recently released their Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan design document. The 140 page document outlines the goal of the agency's HF study which in a nutshell, is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and ambient water resources.
As a part of the process the EPA has organized a series of workshops to help the agency in their overall study plan. The first workshop of the series starts on Thursday February 24. A group of scientists will assemble and present information about Chemical and Analytical Methods. This will include subtopics in fracture fluid chemistry, fingerprinting, and field and analytical challenges. The presentation based on Gastem's procedures will be included the fingerprinting theme. The presentation is generally about the design of Gastem's water quality program and the explanation behind the choice of chemicals to use asflowback tracers.

Gastem uses introduced tracers, which means that the company tests residential wells for specific chemical constituents that are not normally found in groundwater in elevated concentrations. Other presenters (from academia, natural gas industry, government agencies) will be discussing the possibility of using isotopes, concentration ratios and naturally occurring chemicals as fingerprints for flowback. It will be extremely interesting to see what other people are working on.

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