High volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) of shale to stimulate the release of natural gas produces a large quantity of wastewater in the form of flowback fluids and produced water. These wastewaters are highly variable in their composition and contain a mixture of fracturing fluid additives, geogenic inorganic and organic substances, and transformation products. The qualitative and quantitative analyses of organic compounds identified in HVHF fluids, flowback fluids, and produced waters are reviewed here to communicate knowledge gaps that exist in the composition of HVHF wastewaters. In general, analyses of organic compounds have focused on those amenable to gas chromatography, focusing on volatile and semi-volatile oil and gas compounds. Studies of more polar and non-volatile organic compounds have been limited by a lack of knowledge of what compounds may be present as well as quantitative methods and standards available for analyzing these complex mixtures. Liquid chromatography paired with high-resolution mass spectrometry has been used to investigate a number of additives and will be a key tool to further research on transformation products that are increasingly solubilized through physical, chemical, and biological processes in situ and during environmental contamination events. Diverse treatments have been tested and applied to HVHF wastewaters but limited information has been published on the quantitative removal of individual organic compounds. This review focuses on recently published information on organic compounds identified in flowback fluids and produced waters from HVHF.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Luek, J.L., Gonsior, M. 2017. A Review of Organic Compounds in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids and Wastewaters. Water Research 123, 536-548. DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2017.07.012