Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/65827
Title: Potential impact of flowback water from hydraulic fracturing on agricultural soil quality : metal/metalloid bioaccessibility, microtox bioassay, and enzyme activities
Authors: Chen, SS
Sun, Y
Tsang, DCW
Graham, NJD
Ok, YS
Feng, Y
Li, XD
Keywords: Enzyme activity
Fracturing fluids
Metal mobility
Microbial toxicity
Soil interaction
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Science of the total environment, 2017, v. 579, p. 1419-1426 How to cite?
Journal: Science of the total environment 
Abstract: Hydraulic fracturing has advanced the development of shale gas extraction, while inadvertent spills of flowback water may pose a risk to the surrounding environment due to its high salt content, metals/metalloids (As, Se, Fe and Sr), and organic additives. This study investigated the potential impact of flowback water on four representative soils from shale gas regions in Northeast China using synthetic flowback solutions. The compositions of the solutions were representative of flowback water arising at different stages after fracturing well establishment. The effects of solution composition of flowback water on soil ecosystem were assessed in terms of metal mobility and bioaccessibility, as well as biological endpoints using Microtox bioassay (Vibrio fischeri) and enzyme activity tests. After one-month artificial aging of the soils with various flowback solutions, the mobility and bioaccessibility of As(V) and Se(VI) decreased as the ionic strength of the flowback solutions increased. The results inferred a stronger binding affinity of As(V) and Se(VI) with the soils. Nevertheless, the soil toxicity to Vibrio fischeri only presented a moderate increase after aging, while dehydrogenase and phosphomonoesterase activities were significantly suppressed with increasing ionic strength of flowback solutions. On the contrary, polyacrylamide in the flowback solutions led to higher dehydrogenase activity. These results indicated that soil enzyme activities were sensitive to the composition of flowback solutions. A preliminary human health risk assessment related to As(V) suggested a low level of cancer risk through exposure via ingestion, while holistic assessment of environmental implications is required.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/65827
ISSN: 0048-9697
EISSN: 1879-1026
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.141
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