Environmental monitoring instrumentation solutions can provide spot continuous 24*7 capabilities to deliver critical and real time data near hydraulic fracturing sites. Although hydraulic fracturing has proven to be a useful, it is a controversial process being used for the extraction of oil and gas.

Water Quality Monitoring Systems can provide early warnings for the accidental release of pollutants – or for reassuring that the water quality has not been affected. This is significant to minimize the environmental impact to area communities.

Before drilling study the water usage

The amount of water needed to sustain the hydraulic fracturing process is huge – sometimes going up to 5 million gallons. Assessing and addressing the issues related to water use should be done well at the outset itself.

Data being collected from water quality monitoring instruments can help to better understand if the water used will negatively impact other water systems downstream. Analyzing these results can help to secure, or challenge water use permits for these purposes.

Establish a baseline before drilling

Obtaining high resolution water quality data at the beginning is essential for gas exploration companies, drill contractors and environmental consultants. The industry best practice is always to determine the baseline water quality in nearby wells before beginning any well related activities.

Good water quality monitoring equipment can help ensure that ongoing data collection is done via sampling. Installing down-well sensors can take spot measurements or be used at length for long term unattended monitoring as well. Continuous monitoring of groundwater and surface water bodies should be compared to the original baseline data, ensuring that adverse environmental impact is minimized.

Monitoring – surface water quality

We would also suggest that besides enabling data collection and monitoring of ground water, drillers should also assess surface water quality. Spot water sampling and real time water monitoring systems should be employed used to collect quality data from nearby water bodies.

Monitoring – flow back water

The prime motive for monitoring the hydraulic fracturing process is to assess the water produced from it. Injected water should be recovered from the well. This is due to the geology of the fracked well and the chemicals used to construct the well. Typically water coming out of the well can be recycled. This water can then be reused in the hydraulic fracturing process or transferred to a treatment facility as required.

Monitoring – parameters and data collection

During the hydraulic fracturing process, to monitor the ground, surface or flow back water, common parameters can be addressed using good water quality monitoring instrumentation. Data relating to conductivity, temperature, salinity, nitrate, chloride, turbidity and dissolved oxygen along with other elements can be collected and analyzed.

Though there isn’t any silver bullet to address the challenges associated with hydraulic fracturing completely, there are some responsible steps that can be taken with current real-time field measurement and water quality monitoring equipment.