Seismicity, drought, and water conservation efforts have led to increased consideration for alternative management of produced water outside the oilfield. However, there are significant knowledge gaps regarding potential environmental impacts or risks to human health from such practices. In order to understand and reduce these possible impacts, more and better data are vital. The Environmental Defense Fund is working to advance the science needed for better decision-making on produced water management in order to minimize risks to public health and the environment. This research includes improved tools to characterize this waste stream and potential toxicity hazards if released without proper treatment. This presentation will provide an overview of ongoing and collaborative scientific research with universities across the country on these subjects including, but not limited to, analytical methods for the identification and quantification of chemicals in produced water, and application of novel bioassays for its toxicity assessment. These research efforts provide critically needed information to effectively inform others about the importance of this issue, the risks that produced water may pose, and research and regulatory improvements to better identify and reduce those risks.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Dr. Cloelle Danforth
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Environmental Defense Fund
Boulder, Colorado, USA

Dan Mueller, Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, TX
Nichole Saunders, Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, TX