Field Validation of Toxicity Tests to Evaluate the Potential for Beneficial Use of Produced Water

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This study investigated potential biological effects of produced water contamination derived from occasional surface overflow and possible subsurface intrusion at an oil production site along the shore of Skiatook Lake, Oklahoma. We monitored basic chemistry and acute toxicity to a suite of standard aquatic test species (fathead minnow-Pimephales promelas, Daphnia pulex, Daphnia magna, and Ceriodaphnia dubia) in produced water and in samples taken from shallow groundwater wells on the site. Toxicity identification evaluations and ion toxicity modeling were used to identify toxic constituents in the samples. Lake sediment at the oil production site and at a reference site were also ... continued below

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Bidwell, Joseph; Fisher, Jonathan & Cooper, Naomi March 31, 2008.

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Description

This study investigated potential biological effects of produced water contamination derived from occasional surface overflow and possible subsurface intrusion at an oil production site along the shore of Skiatook Lake, Oklahoma. We monitored basic chemistry and acute toxicity to a suite of standard aquatic test species (fathead minnow-Pimephales promelas, Daphnia pulex, Daphnia magna, and Ceriodaphnia dubia) in produced water and in samples taken from shallow groundwater wells on the site. Toxicity identification evaluations and ion toxicity modeling were used to identify toxic constituents in the samples. Lake sediment at the oil production site and at a reference site were also analyzed for brine intrusion chemically and by testing sediment toxicity using the benthic invertebrates, Chironomus dilutus, and Hyallela azteca. Sediment quality was also assessed with in situ survival and growth studies with H. azteca and the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, and by benthic macroinvertebrate community sampling. The produced water was acutely toxic to the aquatic test organisms at concentrations ranging from 1% to 10% of the whole produced water sample. Toxicity identification evaluation and ion toxicity modeling indicated major ion salts and hydrocarbons were the primary mixture toxicants. The standardized test species used in the laboratory bioassays exhibited differences in sensitivity to these two general classes of contaminants, which underscores the importance of using multiple species when evaluating produced water toxicity. Toxicity of groundwater was greater in samples from wells near a produced water injection well and an evaporation pond. Principle component analyses (PCA) of chemical data derived from the groundwater wells indicated dilution by lake water and possible biogeochemical reactions as factors that ameliorated groundwater toxicity. Elevated concentrations of major ions were found in pore water from lake sediments, but toxicity from these ions was limited to sediment depths of 10 cm or greater, which is outside of the primary zone of biological activity. Further, exposure to site sediments did not have any effects on test organisms, and macroinvertebrate communities did not indicate impairment at the oil production site as compared to a reference site. In situ experiments with H. azteca and C. fluminea, indicated a sublethal site effect (on growth of both species), but these could not be definitively linked with produced water infiltration. Severe weather conditions (drought followed by flooding) negatively influenced the intensity of lake sampling aimed at delineating produced water infiltration. Due to the lack of clear evidence of produced water infiltration into the sub-littoral zone of the lake, it was not possible to assess whether the laboratory bioassays of produced water effectively indicate risk in the receiving system. However, the acutely toxic nature of the produced water and general lack of biological effects in the lake at the oil production site suggest minimal to no produced water infiltration into surficial lake sediments and the near-shore water column. This study was able to demonstrate the utility of ion toxicity modeling to support data from toxicity identification evaluations aimed at identifying key toxic constituents in produced water. This information could be used to prioritize options for treating produced water in order to reduce toxic constituents and enhance options for reuse. The study also demonstrated how geographic information systems, toxicity modeling, and toxicity assessment could be used to facilitate future site assessments.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT15544
  • DOI: 10.2172/958108 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 958108
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc926396

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • March 31, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 3:31 p.m.

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Bidwell, Joseph; Fisher, Jonathan & Cooper, Naomi. Field Validation of Toxicity Tests to Evaluate the Potential for Beneficial Use of Produced Water, report, March 31, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc926396/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.