USGS scientists are conducting laboratory experiments to investigate microbial responses to additives used in hydraulic fracturing to recover unconventional oil and gas resources. Pictured are four bottles containing stream water and sediment called microcosms. Photo credit: Andrea Fraser, USGS.
A layer of oil (top) and produced water (bottom) separating from one another after being collected from an oil well in the Permian Basin, Texas. USGS scientists are collecting samples like this one to characterize the chemistry of produced waters. Photo Credit: Francisco Reyes, USGS.
Pits like this one in Pennsylvania are used to collect produced water prior to disposal. USGS researchers are characterizing wastewater and waste solids produced during UOG development in order to understand how releases of these materials may affect the environment. Photo Credit: Adam Mumford, USGS.
USGS scientists sampling in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in a watershed with planned unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development. Knowing the water-quality prior to development will help scientists assess any potential environmental impacts — both positive and negative. Photo Credit: Kelly Maloney, USGS.
A brine spill from a produced water pipeline, contaminated a frozen river in North Dakota. USGS scientists are assessing the impacts of the spill on similar rivers in the area. Photo Credit: Adam Mumford USGS.
Drill rigs such as this one are a frequent sight in the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan due to the dramatic increased hydrocarbon production from the Bakken formation. Photo Credit: Adam Mumford, USGS.
USGS scientists using a power ice auger to gain access to a North Dakota river near a USGS stream gage to assess impacts from an unconventional oil and gas (UOG) brine spill. The scientists are collecting water-quality samples to test for potential chemical and microbiological impacts. Photo Credit: Adam Mumford, USGS.
Even in the winter USGS scientists collect water-quality samples, which are made possible by power ice augers. USGS scientists are investigating effects of a large wastewater pipeline leak into tributaries of the Missouri River, in North Dakota. Photo Credit: Adam Benthem, USGS.
USGS scientists measuring the ice thickness on the Little Muddy River in North Dakota prior to collecting a water-quality sample from the river. The Little Muddy River is one of several sites where USGS scientists are investigating effects of a large wastewater pipeline leak in North Dakota. Photo Credit: Adam Mumford, USGS.
USGS scientist working under ice to obtain grab samples of a stream in North Dakota to assess impacts of a brine spill from unconventional oil and gas activities (UOG). UOG spills often have very high concentrations of salts, metals, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs), and organic compounds. Photo Credit: Adam Benthem, USGS.
USGS scientist lifting a grab sample from ice hole on a stream in North Dakota. The scientist is part of a science team that assessing the potential impacts of a brine spill from unconventional oil and gas activities (UOG) on environmental health. Photo Credit: Adam Benthem, USGS.
USGS scientist measuring dissolved oxygen of a water-quality sample. The scientist is part of a team of USGS scientists that are investigating the potential effects of wastewater injection facility in West Virginia on an adjacent stream. Photo Credit: Denise Akob, USGS.
Logistics are a big part of field studies as attested to by all the equipment in this photo. USGS scientists are collecting stream water and sediment samples for the analysis of potential chemical and microbiological changes and toxicological effects of wastewater disposal with injection wells. Photo Credit: Denise Akob, USGS.
Drilling a shale-gas well into the Marcellus formation in Morgantown, West Virginia. Photo Credit: Matthew S. Varonka, USGS.