Urban drilling keeps our fire department busy…on one occasion they had our water department’s full attention…read our FORMER water director’s story when a Quicksilver drill site spilled over into our drinking water source, Lake Arlington.
Arlington contributed $24,000 toward the Water research Foundation project that specifically sought to understand the gaps in water protection with hydrofracturing.
I asked the city that any reports that come out of the study be posted on the city blog…but no accomodation on this request was ever acted upon so here it is…. finally…..
Belwo the stats is our FORMER water director, Julie Hunt’s contribution to the project relating to the topic “Surface Activities”.
I boldfaced selected items for easier reading through this 75 page report.
I calculated off of the Water Research Foundation report the “YES” percent survey results of those 16 out of 35 attendants that participated in answering that “YES additonal research was needed” the other responses were mostly no responses & “no additional research was needed”. There were even fewer responses for “subject of current research” and two other even less used responses entitled ‘“maybe” and “?”…..
©2011 Water Research Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
pg 55 Water and Chemical Usage
Percentage of “YES additonal research was needed”
63% “Potential for impacts to water supply reliability from cumulative water withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing by numerous independent operators”
50% “Mechanisms for permitting and monitoring water withdrawals to limit potential impacts to water supply reliability”
50% “Methods for resolving/avoiding water resource conflicts”
69% Chemical disclosure/communication protocols to provide utilities with the information needed to monitor for impacts and mitigate if necessary
88% Technologies or products that could reduce usage of toxic chemicals”
pg 57 Subsurface Processes
Percentage of “YES additonal research was needed”
69% Mechanisms/pathways by which drilling/fracturing chemicals, natural gas, or formation materials could migrate from the target formation towards the surface
69% Availability of sufficient data (spatial extent, resolution, etc.) on pre-existing faults/brittle structures that could pose problems during drilling and fracturing
56% Well casing and grouting testing to minimize well construction risk factors
44% Ability to monitor fracture propagation beyond the target formation
50% Geophysical monitoring techniques for improving characterization of confining strata between fractured formation and potable aquifers
50% Potential for widespread drilling and fracturing to negatively impact confining layers that isolate fractured formations
69% Availability of subsurface mitigation measures in the event of a failure
pg 58 Wastewater Disposal
Percentage of “YES additonal research was needed”
44% Methods for predicting volume and chemical characteristics of flowback water and produced water prior to drilling
50% Options for reuse of wastewater for drilling and fracturing operations
56% Impacts on conventional wastewater treatment plants and their receiving waters when accepting flowback and/or produced water
69% Alternative or emerging technologies for treating wastewater
50% Potential for undocumented, pre-regulation abandoned wells acting as conduits to the surface for waste injected underground
31% Occurrence of induced seismicity resulting from underground injection
pg 14 Topic 2: Surface Activities
Julie Hunt of Arlington Water Utilities began with an overview of major industries and attractions in the City of Arlington, the size of the utility (100,000 accounts serving over 370,000 people), and its location in the Barnett Shale region. Major issues for the utility are water supply management, surface water protection, disposal of flowback water, and storm water runoff related to natural gas development. Additional demands on the water resources are not necessarily a concern because the overall consumptive use is relatively minor. However, there are challenges that arise from drilling in close proximity to water supplies and critical infrastructure. One example presented was a notification from a driller that an overflowing tank had released frac water into the adjacent water supply lake. The incident required mobilization of a significant response on the part of the utility to address the spill.
Because drilling occurs in the city limits, Arlington Water Utilities allows drillers to hook up to the public distribution system for water withdrawals, conditional on the use of backflow preventers and an agreement to limit the maximum rate of withdrawal. In order to plan for withdrawals the utility models the distribution system to set the withdrawal rate to prevent pressure loss for other customers. One driller bypassed the controls limiting the rate of withdrawal, which resulted in the city’s primary water tank being drawn down rapidly and unexpectedly. The utility mobilized its staff and local police to search the area, thinking there was a major water line break, before discovering the actual cause. The water utility participates in the planning process for drilling permits within the city and has the authority to impose permit conditions and inspect operations but becomes frustrated when the plans and agreements are not properly followed.
The water utility has concerns of vibrations from drilling and fracturing near its water tank and has been working with drillers to analyze the risk prior to allowing drilling to commence nearby.
Because drilling occurs within the city limits and on the shore of Lake Arlington, a drinking water supply reservoir, the utility is very concerned about public perception issues. Another concern is that the state regulatory agencies for the utility (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) and the gas drillers (Texas Railroad Commission) do not always coordinate effectively to assist the utility in protecting drinking water supplies.
In general there is more of a concern about impacts during the well drilling phase of development than the long term operations of the wells. However, ponds constructed by drillers to hold fresh water for fracing, though identified as “temporary,” may remain for years. These semi-permanent ponds can be an aesthetic issue and a safety hazard for residents.”
END Julie Hunt report—————-
pg 19 “It was stressed that baseline water quality data is necessary, but with so many original chemicals and degradation byproducts, it is difficult and expensive to test for everything. Tracers, or some other surrogate that is indicative of fracture fluid contamination, would be extremely beneficial for ease of monitoring. However, no suitable tracers or surrogates are currently available.”
“While most surface activities are typical for all types of oil and gas development, hydraulic fracturing has propelled the expansion of natural gas development into areas with relatively limited history of oil and gas exploration.”
pg 20 “Additionally, chemical analysis methodologies will need to be improved upon to more cost effectively test for exotic chemicals diluted with highly concentrated brine.”
pg 29 “Subject to appropriate intellectual property rules, policy makers and water utilities need a current, comprehensive inventory of chemical constituents used or produced at all stages of oil and gas development. These constituents should be evaluated to determine the level of information available about them with regard to toxicity for human health and the environment. The presence of extremely high total dissolved solids (TDS) on the order of 100,000 mg/L, especially chlorides, inhibits the ability to detect other constituents that may be present at much smaller concentrations, such as endocrine disruptors. “
p35 Project Description
6. “Investigation of Physical Impacts to Utility Infrastructure from Ground Movement due to Hydraulic Fracturing” (see my previous blog/video on this subject)
Hydraulic fracturing requires the injection of large volumes of pressurized fluid deep underground to create fractures in rock. This volume displaces the overlying material (rock and soil) such that the ground surface flexes upward by a small, but measurable, amount. This flexure may potentially cause damage to both underground utility infrastructure (e.g., water tunnels, pipelines, storage tanks) and surface structures (e.g., tanks, water towers, and dams).
There may be existing information on damage to utility infrastructure from other types of ground movement such as subsidence or earthquakes. A preliminary literature review should be performed beforehand to gauge the need for a full scale research project.”
pg 41 “There are no known studies that have analyzed cumulative subsurface impacts from large numbers of hydraulically fractured wells. A hydrogeological analysis in Garfield County, Colorado, revealed a steady decline in groundwater quality as drilling operations increased. A more comprehensive analysis that links the cause and effects with level of drilling activity is needed to help utilities and regulators plan for development to limit impacts. The research should include the following elements:
WaterRF Workshop on Natural Gas Development Issues for Drinking Water Utilities: Participant List and Breakout Group Assignments
|Scott Anderson||Environmental Defense Fund|
|J. Daniel Arthur||ALL Consulting|
|Tzahi Cath||Colorado School of Mines|
|Kevin Fisher||Pinnacle Technologies|
|Seth Guikema||Johns Hopkins University|
|Gary Hanson||Red River Watershed Management Institute|
|Tom Hayes||Gas Technology Institute|
|Bill Kappel||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Joe Lee||Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection|
|Matt Mantell||Chesapeake Energy|
|J.P. Nicot||University of Texas Austin|
|Chad Pindar||Delaware River Basin Commission|
|Robert Puls||USEPA Office of Research and Development|
|Dan Soeder||U.S. Dept of Energy NETL|
|John Veil||Argonne National Lab|
|Lori Wrotenbery||Oklahoma Corporation Commission|
|Kelly Anderson||Philadelphia Water Dept|
|Paula Connely||Philadelphia Water Dept|
|Julie Hunt||City of Arlington, TX|
|Kim Kane||New York City Dept of Environmental Protection|
|Paul Rush||New York City Dept of Environmental Protection|
|Andre Zinkevich||American Water|
|Water Research Foundation Staff and guests|
|Jeanne Briskin||USEPA Office of Research and Development|
|Fred Hauchman||USEPA Office of Research and Development|
|Audrey Levine||USEPA Office of Research and Development|
|Kim Linton||WaterRF Staff|
|Mary Smith||WaterRF Staff|
|Lynn Thorpe||Clean Water Action / WaterRF Research Council Member|
|Jennifer Warner||WaterRF Staff|
|Patrick Field||Consensus Building Institute|
|Frank Getchell||Leggette, Brashears and Graham|
|Kate Harvey||Consensus Building Institute|
|Tom McEnerney||Hazen and Sawyer|
|Grantley Pyke||Hazen and Sawyer|
|Ben Wright||Hazen and Sawyer|
©2011 Water Research Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.