Understanding the impact

As hydraulic fracturing or fracking has burgeoned, so have speculations about its environmental impact. Both citizens and government officials have questioned whether fracking could compromise our drinking water sources.

We support businesses—including oil and gas exploration companies, water treatment companies, and drinking and wastewater treatment facilities—by providing a broad range of products and services to help them:

  • Minimize environmental impact on groundwater
  • Improve fracking processes
  • Dispose of wastewater, drill cuttings, and brines prior to disposal

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Analytical solutions for a healthier, cleaner and safer planet

Worldwide demand for additional energy sources has driven the growth of shale oil and gas extraction technology. But as hydraulic fracturing (HF) or fracking has burgeoned, so has speculation about its environmental impact. The chemicals used in the process can include hazardous compounds and the wastewater it produces may contain high levels of salts, metals, and occasional traces of radioactive isotopes from the subsurface environment.
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Overview: flowback and produced water analysis

When high pressure is used to crack the shale during the hydraulic fracturing process, wastewater flows to the surface as flowback or produced water. Download this white paper to learn how is the wastewater handled and how the contaminants in the wastewater are analyzed.
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For more information

  •  Download poster note: Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback Water Analysis Using In-line Conductivity, Automated Dilution, and Ion Chromatography

Bromide, strontium, and barium analysis

Bromide (Br-), strontium (Sr2+) and barium (Ba2+) are signatures of the flowback waters. Bromide is of particular concern because it can lead to increased formation of brominated disinfection byproducts during drinking water disinfection. Download this white paper to learn how bromide is analyzed.
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For more information

  • The experimental procedure for strontium and barium:
  •  Download application note: Determination of Cations in Hydraulic Fracturing Flowback Water from the Marcellus Shale
  • For bromide:
  •  Download application note: Determination of Anions and Cations in Produced Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Metals analysis

High levels of dissolved solids, such as salts leached from bedrock, can be a challenge when analyzing fracking flowback solutions. Direct analysis of these solutions can often suppress key analytes; thus, sample dilution is often necessary to achieve accurate measurement of trace analytes. Additionally, high concentrations may fall outside the linear calibration range for a particular analyte. Because ICP-OES and ICP-MS perform within a wide dynamic range, they are the preferred tools for analysis of multiple metals.
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Anions and organic acids analysis

Anions and organic acids are found in fracking flowback waters. They can alter the viscosity of the fracturing water, thereby affecting the hydraulic fracturing process. They may also harm the quality of surface and groundwaters - potential sources for drinking water. Ion chromatography is a powerful analytical tool that can be used to check for these contaminants in water.
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For more information

  •  Download white paper: The Importance of Anion and Organic Acid Determinations in Fracking Wastewater by Ion Chromatography

methane regulation

The first US EPA methane regulation

On Jan. 14, 2015, the US EPA has outlined the plan to regulate methane and smog-forming volatile organic compounds emissions from the oil and gas industry. This is the first time that emission of methane, the major component of natural gas, is regulated. The EPA plans to issue the proposed rule later this summer and make a final rule in 2016.

The major unconventional technology for natural gas production is hydraulic fracturing. During the process, methane is produced by releasing to the air or dissolved in the fracking water. The following resources provide detection methods for methane dissolved in water.

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