There is a growing concern over the contamination of surface water and the associated environmental and public health consequences from the recent proliferation of hydraulic fracturing in the USA. Petroleum hydrocarbon-derived contaminants of concern [benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX)] and various dissolved cations and anions were spatially determined in surface waters around 15 coalbed methane fracking wells in Sullivan County, IN, USA. At least one BTEX compound was detected in 69% of sampling sites (n = 13) and 23% of sampling sites were found to be contaminated with all of the BTEX compounds. Toluene was the most common BTEX compound detected across all sampling sites, both upstream and downstream from coalbed methane fracking wells. The average concentration of toluene at a reservoir and its outlet nearby the fracking wells was ~2× higher than other downstream sites. However, one of the upstream sites was found to be contaminated with BTEX at similar concentrations as in a reservoir site nearby the fracking well. Calcium (~60 ppm) and sulfates (~175 ppm) were the dominant cations and anions, respectively, in surface water around the fracking sites. This study represents the first report of BTEX contamination in surface water from coalbed methane hydraulic fracturing wells.
Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 14, 2017
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