Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016ND312B

Holistic Risk Assessment of Surface Water Contamination Due to Lead-210 Found in Produced Water from Unconventional Oil Production in North Dakota

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Eakalak Khan, Om Yadav

Abstract: Produced water generated during the flowback process and production stage contains different constituents including chemical additives, salt, oil and grease, natural organic and inorganic compounds, and other natural radioactive materials. Leakage, spills, and discharges of produced water present a threat to human health and the environment because of the high concentrations of these contaminants. Research on water contamination due to oil and gas production has been conducted on specific constituents, such as salinity and organic compounds, but studies about radioactive materials are still scarce, especially in North Dakota. The risks of surface water contamination due to lead (Pb)-210 found in produced water will be studied in this research. Social factors, to determine risk perceptions, are going to be included with the objective of delivering holistic results. Specific research objectives include: 1) To apply simulation methods to predict Pb-210 concentrations in produced water from the Bakken; 2) To determine the likelihood and health impacts of Pb-210 contamination in aquatic resources in North Dakota due to oil production; and 3) To apply a stochastic risk assessment that includes social factors in order to analyze the risks of exposure to Pb-210 for both workers and general public.