DOI

10.17077/etd.hjbou3bs

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Human Toxicology

First Advisor

Schultz, Michael K.

First Committee Member

Forbes, Tori Z.

Second Committee Member

Field, R. William

Third Committee Member

Wichman, Michael D.

Fourth Committee Member

Ward, Adam S.

Abstract

As unconventional drilling has emerged as a major industry in the US and around the world, many environmental health and pollution risks have surfaced. One emerging concern is the risk of environmental contamination arising from unconventional wastes that are enriched in naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORM). Although NORM has been a well-documented contaminant of oil and gas wastes for decades, there are new challenges associated with unconventional drilling. This thesis discusses several of these challenges, focusing on NORM from black shale formations. Chapter 1 provides background information on environmental radioactivity and unconventional drilling. Chapter 2 describes the potential for NORM to migrate into groundwater around unconventional drilling operations. Chapters 3 and 4 describe radiochemical methods developed for the analysis of Marcellus Shale unconventional drilling wastes. Chapter 5 describes environmental partitioning of Marcellus Shale unconventional drilling wastes. Collectively, this thesis attempts to broaden the scientific understanding of NORM in unconventional drilling wastes so that potential environmental impacts may be mitigated.

Public Abstract

Unconventional drilling, commonly referred to as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, has emerged as a major industry in the US and around the world. This industry is aimed at extracting energy (in the form of natural gas or oil) from deep below the earth’s surface in previously unreachable geologic formations. As this new industry grows, many environmental health and pollution risks have surfaced. One emerging concern is the risk of environmental contamination arising from liquid and solid wastes that are enriched in naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORM). Although NORM has been a well-documented contaminant of oil and gas wastes for decades, there are new challenges associated with unconventional drilling. This thesis discusses several of these challenges. Collectively, this thesis attempts to broaden the scientific understanding of NORM in unconventional drilling wastes so that potential environmental impacts may be mitigated.

Keywords

Hydraulic Fracturing, NORM, Polonium, Radiochemistry, Radium, Unconventional Drilling

Pages

xvii, 157 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references.

Copyright

Copyright © 2016 Andrew Wyatt Nelson

Included in

Toxicology Commons

Share

COinS