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Processed Water Spill Remediation: Common Sense Solutions for the Bakken

In the Bakken region of western North Dakota, there is a need for the management of processed water generated from oil and gas production facilities. While these materials are generally handled responsibly, accidents happen and releases occur. Processed water released into the ground has the potential to impact the surrounding ecosystems through surface, subsurface, and groundwater contamination. When a release has been identified, cleanup and remediation efforts should begin as soon as possible.

Identifying the horizontal and vertical extent of the release is the first step in the remediation process. GeoProbe™ soil boring can be an effective and efficient method used to delineate impacts through chemical analyses. Additionally, releases can be delineated in the field using screening techniques such as direct measurement of electrical conductivity and chloride strip tests. Measuring soil salinity utilizing electromagnetic (EM) ground conductivity surveys can quickly map release footprints. Once the extent of the impacted area has been determined, considerations regarding the most effective remediation methods can be determined.

There are several methods used to remediate processed water releases which include water collection systems and the most prominent being “dig and haul”. Water collection systems are typically targeted within the root zone where water is collected and removed until contaminants of concern have decreased to an acceptable level. Currently, Braun Intertec is experimenting with the use of surface treatment methods utilizing biological solutions to encapsulate contaminants from the soil structure while restoring soil nutrients.

For more information about environmental consulting, reach out to Christian Forster in our Bismarck, North Dakota office.

Christian Forster Environmental Technician III

P: 701.595.2709