Mixing of acid mine drainage (AMD) and hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids (HFFF) could represent an efficient management practice to simultaneously manage two complex energy wastewater streams while reducing freshwater resource consumption. AMD discharges offer generally high sulfate concentrations, especially from the bituminous coal region of Pennsylvania; unconventional Marcellus shale gas wells generally yield HFFF enriched in alkaline earth metals such as Sr and Ba, known to cause scaling issues in oil and gas (O&G) production. Mixing the two waters can precipitate HFFF-Ba and -Sr with AMD-SO4, therefore removing them from solution. Four AMD discharges and HFFF from two unconventional Marcellus shale gas wells were characterized and mixed in batch reactors for 14 days. Ba could be completely removed from solution within 1 day of mixing in the form BaxSr1-xSO4 and no further significant precipitation occurred after 2 days. Total removal efficiencies of Ba + Sr + SO4 and the proportion of Ba and Sr in BaxSr1-xSO4 depended upon the Ba/Sr ratio in the initial HFFF. A geochemical model was calibrated from batch reactor data and used to identify optimum AMD-HFFF mixing ratios that maximize total removal efficiencies (Ba + Sr + SO4) for reuse in O&G development. Increasing Ba/Sr ratios can enhance total removal efficiency but decrease the efficiency of Ra removal. Thus, treatment objectives and intended beneficial reuse need to be identified prior to optimizing the treatment of HFFF with AMD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry