Earthquakes in Heart of Texas Oil Country Spur Water Crackdown

chart: frequency of earthquakes in the Permian (2016 - 2018)

Chart: Earthquakes in Heart of Texas Oil Country Spur Water Crackdown

(Bloomberg) — Texas is considering new restrictions on how shale explorers dispose of wastewater from oil drilling as earthquakes rattle the largest oil-producing American state.

The new rules would target how much and at what pressure briny water that emerges from oil wells is injected back into the ground, Jared Craighead, chief of staff for the Texas Railroad Commission, … [more…]

US groundwater in peril: potable water supply less than thought

photo: a private, potable groundwater well in New Mexico, USA

Photo: A groundwater well near Estancia, New Mexico. Credit: Debra Perrone

The U.S. groundwater supply is smaller than originally thought, according to a new research study that includes a University of Arizona hydrologist.

The study provides important insights into the depths of underground fresh and brackish water in some of the most prominent sedimentary basins across the U.S.

The research by scientists from the University of Saskatchewan, the UA and … [more…]

It’s Official: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Earthquake

map: USA showing earthquake epicenter. It's Official: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Earthquake

The largest earthquake ever recorded in Kansas—a 4.9 magnitude temblor that struck northeast of Milan on Nov. 12, 2014—has been officially linked to wastewater injection into deep underground wells, according to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The epicenter of that extremely rare earthquake struck near a known fracking operation.

The Wichita Eagle noted from the study that this man-made quake, which hit 40 miles southwest of Wichita … [more…]

Intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing

Map of water stress and shale plays; hydraulic fracturing

Abstract

Unconventional oil and gas exploration in the United States has experienced a period of rapid growth, followed by several years of limited production due to falling and low natural gas and oil prices. Throughout this transition, the water use for hydraulic fracturing and wastewater production in major shale gas and oil production regions has increased; from 2011 to 2016, the water use per well increased up to 770%, while … [more…]

Calculating ‘old’ and ‘new’ water runoff

Just ahead of a rainstorm, Cody Ross might run out to an agricultural research site as part of his graduate work. He’ll need to get some dye into an injection well. The point? To evaluate the path that water follows from the field during and after the rainstorm.

photo: Cody Ross calculating 'old' and 'new' water runoff

Cody Ross prepares water samples after a rain fall. These carefully labeled samples will help tell the story of how the water … [more…]