Reston Biogeochemical Processes in Groundwater Laboratory

Wastewaters from Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

A natural gas well.
A natural gas well.

Our research team is working on a new project for the USGS Toxics Program aimed at assessing the potential risks to human and ecosystem health associated with Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) development. There is a critical need to understand the composition of the range of fluids generated during UOG development, to identify potential pathways to the environment, and to evaluate potential effects on ecosystems and receptor organisms from exposure to these fluids. The overall objective of this research is to understand potential impacts of UOG-generated fluids on water resources and environmental health. In order to achieve these objectives, we are conducting research in priority areas focused on the most important environmental pathways and greatest environmental impacts. Our research activities will be coordinated with ongoing studies within USGS on issues related to UOG development and use. Our work will involve close collaboration with the Energy Resources Program and Contaminants Biology Program.