Salting the Earth: The Environmental Impact of Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills

By some estimates, as much as 5% of all oil and gas wastewater produced in the United States is accidentally or illegally released into the environment. There are many potential pathways for this waste to enter surface and ground water, including spills from pipelines or tanker trucks carrying the waste, leakage from wastewater storage ponds or tanks at well pads or disposal facilities, and migration of subsurface fluids through failed well casings. Between 2009 and 2014 more than 21,000 individual spills involving over 175 million gallons of wastewater were reported in the 11 main oil- and gas-producing states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. In North Dakota alone, well operators have reported nearly 4,000 spills to the state since 2007.

Comments are closed.