Evaluating the Leachability of Elements from Residuals Generated by Hydraulic Fracturing in Marcellus Shale
Swann, Christina Talbot
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The purpose of this research was to characterize the residual solids produced from hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus Shale region. Four field samples were evaluated: drilling mud, treated sludge from the chemical treatment of process water, solids from the gravity settling of produced water, and sludge solidified prior to disposal in a municipal landfill. Cement kiln dust (CKD), used for solidification, was also considered in this study. All samples were subjected to a variety of laboratory techniques to determine their elemental composition and the potential for the elements to leach from the landfill. Strong acid digestion using a 3:1 combination of nitric acid to hydrochloric acid in a microwave with closed vessels was used to determine overall elemental composition. Leaching experiments were performed with de-ionized water and acetic acid (0.57%, pH 2.88) in an attempt to respectively evaluate the effects of weak and strong fluids that might be encountered by the residuals in landfill environments. Elements were analyzed by means of ICP-MS revealing the increased tendency for alkali metals, alkaline earth metals and halogens to leach. Leachablility was further increased for metals when exposed to acidic conditions.
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