Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017PA232B

Impacts of Shale Gas Produced Water on Disinfection Byproduct Formation in Water Utilities

Institute: Pennsylvania
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $21,991 Total Non-Federal Funds: $43,845

Principal Investigators: Yuefeng Xie

Abstract: The rapid rise of shale gas development through horizontal drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing has triggered environmental and human health concerns due to potential impacts on water resources. Disposal of high-salinity shale gas produced water is a major challenge where underground injection is not available or restricted in some regions of Pennsylvania. Illegal disposal, inadequate treatment, and leaks of such water to environment pose human health risks. The produced water is challenging to treat and the current disposal practices in Pennsylvania are deficient in removing bromide and organic disinfection by-product (DBP) precursors that may impact downstream water utilities. In this project, we will explore the impact of shale gas produced water on downstream water utilities regarding DBP formation and conduct a preliminary study of an emerging capacitive deionization (CDI) technology on DBP precursor control from shale gas produced water. The proposed study will include 2 phases: (1) impact analysis of produced water on DBP formation; and (2) performance assessment of CDI technology for produced water treatment. This research will improve our understanding of produced water management, and may help incentivize treatment of produced water to a quality of discharge or external reuse, especially in areas with limited access to disposal wells and/or local water scarcity. Results of the study will be helpful toward minimizing the impact of shale gas produced water on downstream water utilities.