Hydraulic fracturing wastewater in Germany: Composition, treatment, concerns

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


When studying technical methods and measures that could be applicable for flowback treatment, recycling and/or disposal, it is important to characterize the volumes and composition of hydraulic fracturing flowback. In this work, water volumes and water quality data are considered for investigating flowback at three selected drilling sites in Germany. The analysis highlighted an increase of chloride concentrations up to saturation limit over the time. High salinity concentrations were used as indicator for estimating the percentage of hydraulic fracturing fluid and formation water in flowback. For the studied shale gas well a proportion of formation water, 69 %, and hydraulic fracturing fluid, 31 %, in flowback were derived. Thus, 92 % of the hydraulic fracturing fluid remained in the formation. The physical/chemical properties of flowback were categorized in groups to enable the allocation of applicable treatment methods. The analysis revealed that no single technology can meet suitable effluent characteristics, thus two or more treatment systems might be used in series operation. In particular, for flowback containing high salinity concentrations the only treatment options are evaporation or crystallization. Hence, methodological distinctions need to be made between concentration, elimination, disposal and recycling, whereby for the existing concentrate treatment or disposal measures need to be completed and scaled up into the process.
ZeitschriftEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Seiten (von - bis)3895-3906
Anzahl der Seiten12
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.2013

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