Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM


HAMMACK, Richard W., National Energy Technology Lab; U.S. Department of Energy, Pittsburgh, PA 15236,

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is conducting research to identify and mitigate environmental impacts associated with the development of the Marcellus Shale gas. The work falls into four categories: 1) chemical and microbiological characterization of flowback and produced waters; 2) development of more effective technologies to treat or manage produced and flowback waters; 3) monitoring of air emissions from Marcellus Shale gas wells to determine impact on regional air quality; and 4) determining the impact of Marcellus development on sensitive indicator species. Marcellus Shale gas flowback and produced waters are being characterized to achieve a holistic understanding of the chemistry of these waters and the microbial consortia that live in them. This information will be used to design effective treatment for the produced/flowback waters and to determine the chemical and isotopic signature for such waters so that they can be identified when commingled with surface water or shallow groundwater. NETL is monitoring air emissions from oil and gas operations using a mobile laboratory that is equipped to measure 52 VOC’s, ozone, SO2, NOx, PM2.5 and PM10, particle and gas phase ions (sulfate, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, bromide, and fluoride), ammonia, organic and elemental carbon in aerosols, visibility impairment (haze), methane, and radon. NETL also has been examining the impact of access road and drill pad construction on sensitive species. Specifically, NETL has funded West Virginia University to examine the impact of Marcellus Shale gas development on two migratory songbirds whose populations have been in decline since 1960. Further, NETL in conjunction with Penn State’s Dirt and Gravel Roads Group, Clarion University and the U.S. Geological Survey have been looking at the impact of different methods of access road construction on sedimentation in nearby streams and the resulting impact on macroinvertebrate populations. The current status of these studies including significant outcomes will be presented.