From Science Daily:

Hydraulic fracturing, a widely used method for extracting oil and gas from otherwise impenetrable shale and rock formations, involves not only underground injections composed mostly of water, but also a mixture of chemical additives. These chemicals range from toxic biocides and surfactants, to corrosion inhibitors and slicking agents, and many are also used by other industries.

A Colorado State University research team desired a deeper understanding of the fate of these chemicals when they are spilled accidentally during either transportation or production in oil and gas operations. These spills, especially in Colorado, often take place on or near agricultural lands.

The researchers set out to discover whether the degradation of these chemicals in agricultural soil are affected by co-contamination. The team consisted of Thomas Borch, a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences, with joint appointments in civil and environmental engineering and chemistry; Jens Blotevogel, a research assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering; and their graduate student Molly McLaughlin.

Their results are online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, published by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

In the paper, Borch, Blotevogel and McLaughlin cite 838 total hydraulic fracturing fluid spills in Colorado, reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in 2014. These spills only include those larger than five barrels of fluid when they happen within a well pad, and larger than one barrel when outside a well pad.

For their proof-of-concept experiments, the researchers used reactors to…

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