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Spills of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals on Agricultural Topsoil: Biodegradation, Sorption, and Co-contaminant Interactions

Hydraulic fracturing frequently occurs on agricultural land. Yet the extent of sorption, transformation, and interactions among the numerous organic frac fluid and oil and gas wastewater constituents upon environmental release is hardly known. Thus, this study aims to advance our current understanding of processes that control the environmental fate and toxicity of commonly used hydraulic fracturing chemicals. Poly(ethylene glycol) surfactants were completely biodegraded in agricultural topsoil within 42–71 days, but their transformation was impeded in the presence of the biocide glutaraldehyde and was completely inhibited by salt at concentrations typical for oil and gas wastewater. At the same time, aqueous glutaraldehyde concentrations decreased due to sorption to soil and were completely biodegraded within 33–57 days. While no aqueous removal of polyacrylamide friction reducer was observed over a period of 6 months, it cross-linked with glutaraldehyde, further lowering the biocide’s aqueous concentrat...

Authors:   Molly C. McLaughlin; Thomas Borch; Jens Blotevogel
Journal:   Environmental Science & Technology
Year:   2016
DOI:   10.1021/acs.est.6b00240
Publication date:   19-May-2016
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