Pits versus Tanks: Risks and Mitigation Options for On-Site Storage of Wastewater from Shale Gas and Tight Oil Development
Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 15-53
68 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2016
Date Written: December 17, 2015
In this paper, we summarize findings from a research effort aimed at understanding the sources of risk associated with on-site shale gas and tight oil wastewater storage in the United States, the gaps that exist in knowledge regarding these risks, policy and technology options for addressing the risks, and the relative merits of those options. Specifically, we (a) identify the potential risks to human and ecological health associated with on-site storage of shale gas and tight oil wastewater via a literature survey and analysis of data on wastewater spills, (b) provide a detailed description of government regulations or industry actions that may mitigate these risks to human and ecological health, and (c) provide a list of recommendations specific to wastewater storage that may help generate progress toward concrete action to make shale gas and tight oil development more sustainable and more acceptable to a skeptical public, while keeping costs down.
Keywords: oil and gas production, wastewater storage, environmental regulation
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