Determining the Fate of Brine Components Within Tallgrass Prairie Soils: Investigating the Transport Mechanisms and Partitioning Behavior of Dissolved Brine Components
University of Tulsa Geosciences Department Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; [email protected]
Brine, also known as produced water, is a common byproduct of oil production. Brine’s chemical composition is unique to the geologic formation in which it formed, but is known to have elevated concentrations of salts (TDS surpassing 300,000 mg/L), heavy metals, naturally occurring radioactive materials, trace metals and dissolved hydrocarbons. Brine is considered a hazard when exposed to terrestrial environments. The immediate signs of impact are loss of vegetation followed by significant soil erosion. Remaining soils are typically highly saline and/or sodic and unable to support plant life. These impacted areas are titled as brine scars. Remediating brine scars has proven to be difficult throughout time. Two key distinctions associate brine’s chemical composition to remediation difficulty: 1) dissolved brine components are highly mobile within soil environments and 2) brine components do not naturally attenuate. The objective of this study is to devise pragmatic, effective methodologies to measure the existing extent of brine contamination within soils and to determine its transport fate. Methodologies encompass subsurface geophysical techniques, in situ monitoring systems, sophisticated GPS applications and surface/subsurface hydrologic modeling applications. A series of modified adsorption isotherm studies and a varying grade of soil extraction protocols will determine the sequestration fate of brine components onto soil particles. Information obtained from this research will be used to determine the ultimate fate of brine components within soil environments and to possibly date the lifetime decay rate of brine scars. The results from this research will help develop applications to better manage and remediate brine scars.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90083 © 2008 AAPG Foundation Grants in Aid